The Coast Guard could be facing an even greater personnel shortage than current estimates suggest, testimony during a House hearing Tuesday revealed, but data and workplace assessment failures mean the exact number is unknown.
Lawmakers on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee suggested during the hearing that the Coast Guard was facing a 3,000-person shortfall. But according to the Government Accountability Office, it's likely thousands more because the Coast Guard has yet to conduct an entire branchwide manpower assessment.
“The Coast Guard estimates that it is short thousands of service members. Without workforce assessments, it does not know the true magnitude of the shortfall and which units or missions are most effective,” Heather Macleod, the director of GAO's Homeland Security and Justice team, told the committee. Just 15% of workplace assessments have been completed for units across the service.
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A May report from the GAO suggested the Coast Guard is therefore closer to around 4,800 members short, marking the fourth consecutive fiscal year the branch has missed its recruiting goals.
The Coast Guard isn't alone in its personnel woes. Across the military branches, only the Marine Corps and the Space Force met their enlisted recruiting goals for 2023. The Army, Air Force and Navy, fell short. Every service…