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U.S. Coast Guard Academy Cultural Competence Assessment



The U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), located in New London, CT, is a four-year, tuition-free federal service academy that prepares its cadets physically, intellectually, and ethically for careers in the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Graduates earn a commission as an Ensign and are obligated to serve five years in the service. Cadets can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in one of nine engineering and professional majors while also participating in intercollegiate and club athletics, music, community service, and other extracurricular activities.


Section 8272 of the Coast Guard Academy Improvement Act, part of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021, required the Secretary of Homeland Security to contract with the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy) to conduct two discrete one-year studies focusing on the USCGA. The first study was an assessment of the cultural competency of the USCGA. Following the submission of that report, a second study immediately commenced focusing on USCGA admission processes, building on what was learned in the first study.

The first Academy study included:

  • A comprehensive assessment of the current cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion resources and capabilities of the USCGA.
  • Analysis of institutional practices, policies, and structures, and any other areas of focus deemed appropriate in assessing the USCGA’s cultural competence.
  • Recommendations to enhance USCGA cultural competence, which may include outreach and recruitment; modifying structures and practices to foster a more diverse cadet corps body, faculty, and staff workforce; and modifying policies to foster retention of cadets, faculty, and staff.

Click the button below to view the Final Report.

Final Report

Click the button below to view the U.S. Coast Guard Final Action Memorandum.

U.S. Coast Guard Final Action Memorandum


The Panel found that at the Coast Guard Academy, more can be done to build an infrastructure of coordinated policies, procedures, and structures to drive desired outcomes. There is a clear imperative for the Academy to internalize cultural competence further, embracing it as mission essential and making it an integral part of organizational decision making. The Panel noted that there are notable opportunities for the Academy to enhance its approach to addressing cultural competence.

To that end, the Panel makes 18 actionable recommendations with both short-term and medium-term timelines, grouped under five themes: leadership vision and commitment; incident response; active learning, continuous improvement and partnerships; curriculum and training; and screening, hiring and performance management.

The following are the Panel's four highest priority recommendations:

  1. Completing and issuing a detailed, integrated, comprehensive, and long-term diversity and inclusion action plan for the USCGA.
  2. Expanding the responsibilities of the Chief Diversity Officer to play a more strategic role with the Superintendent in enhancing cultural competence.
  3. Improving governance and oversight of all initiatives.
  4. Ensuring transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement by tracking meaningful metrics to observe progress and to guide how changes can and should be made to improve performance further.

USCGA Response to the Report: U.S. Coast Guard Final Action Memorandum

Section 8272 of the Coast Guard Academy Improvement Act, part of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021, required the U.S. Coast Guard to submit a final action memorandum in response to the report recommendations to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate.

In this final action memorandum, the Coast Guard accepted 15 of NAPA's 18 recommendations and accepted in part 3 of the 18 recommendations. The final action memorandum specifies actions to be taken to implement these recommendations. This memorandum is linked on this page.

Click Here to Read the Final Action Memorandum

Study Fellows