Thompson, Richmond Introduce Legislation to Improve Coast Guard Academy
June 26, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation, introduced two pieces of legislation to improve the Coast Guard Academy. H.R. 3488, the Coast Guard Academy Improvement Act, introduced by Chairman Thompson, would help improve diversity at the Academy, a response to the low levels of minority enrollment at the Academy and accounts of allegations of a discriminatory and racially hostile environment at the Academy. H.R. 3484, the DHS Rotational Cybersecurity Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Richmond, would help enhance DHS’ cybersecurity capacity and facilitate cybersecurity academic and professional enrichment.
H.R. 3488, the Coast Guard Academy Improvement Act, has been co-sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security, as well as Rep. Richmond.
H.R. 3484, the DHS Rotational Cybersecurity Act of 2019, has been co-sponsored by Chairman Thompson, Rep. Correa, and Rep. James Langevin (D-RI), Co-Chair of the House Cybersecurity Caucus.
“I am fully confident that if the Coast Guard Academy were to better represent the diverse fabric of this Nation, the Coast Guard would only be stronger – and we would only be more secure,” said Chairman Thompson. “Accounts make it clear that diversity at the Academy is woefully inadequate, and furthermore, that cadets of diverse backgrounds have had to face racially hostile incidents. This is wholly unacceptable, and it’s incumbent on us to make necessary improvements. This bill will leverage outside expertise, lending transparency and accountability to an Academy that clearly needs it. The Coast Guard, at its best, exemplifies its core values: honor, respect, and devotion to duty. Making the Coast Guard more diverse and inclusive would make strides toward achieving its mission.”
“Cyberattacks pose the greatest threats now, unlike ever before in the history of our nation,” said Rep. Richmond. “We have a responsibility to ensure the Federal government is properly staffed to combat and defend against these types of threats. This legislation would enhance the cybersecurity capabilities at DHS and the Coast Guard – and also help facilitate upward career mobility among our DHS employees and Coast Guard cadets.”
“I applaud my colleagues, Chairman Thompson and Rep. Richmond, for introducing critical legislation to ensure the Coast Guard is capable of meeting tomorrow’s challenges,” said Rep. Correa. “These forward-thinking bills will help prepare the servicemen and servicewomen protecting our seas by prioritizing diverse leadership and cyber training.”
“I am honored to support the Coast Guard Academy Improvement Act, which would help ensure that cadets reflect the diversity of the nation they are being prepared to serve and protect,” said Chairman Cummings. “Recent assessments have identified deeply concerning disparities at the Academy, and business as usual is simply not an option. This bill would make thoughtful changes to address these inequities.”
Key features of H.R. 3488, the Coast Guard Academy Improvement Act:
- Establishes a Coast Guard Academy Cultural Reform Commission to make recommendations to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment.
- Mandates a Recruitment and Retention Plan to improve recruitment and retention of cadets, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds.
- Formally authorizes the Academy Minority Outreach Team (AMOT), with permanent leadership, that has been credited with helping bring and keep more minority cadets.
- Requires the Coast Guard to select up to 50 percent of each incoming class from a Congressionally-nominated candidate pool.
- Formally authorizes and expands the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI) scholarship program for qualified undergraduates to receive a guaranteed commission as an officer after completing their undergraduate studies.
Key features of H.R. 3484, the DHS Rotational Cybersecurity Act of 2019:
- Creates a new rotational program for Coast Guard Academy graduates and faculty with expertise in cybersecurity to be detailed to the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Science and Technology Directorate.
- Employees of both components would also be detailed to the Coast Guard Academy as faculty.