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State of the Coast Guard address tackles trying times

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp delivered his final State of the Coast Guard address last week at the service’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Papp provided an overview of programs and issues of the last four years and also looked ahead to what the service could face in the future.

Emphasizing that this year the Coast Guard became the first military service to achieve a clean financial audit, Papp said the Coast Guard provided sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars, an “achievement that required an all-hands effort across the service.”

Papp mentioned progress in the Coast Guard’s improvement of its sexual assault prevention and response program, citing the commitment of $5 million and 32 military and civilian billets to the effort and the creation of a Special Victims Counsel, made up of specially trained Coast Guard lawyers dedicated to assisting victims of sexual assault.

The sole focus of the lawyers is to represent victims throughout the process of holding perpetrators accountable, ensuring that victims have an advocate.

“I have no greater responsibility than to ensure no Coast Guardsman ever has to experience the devastation of sexual assault at the hands of someone they thought was a shipmate,” he said in prepared remarks. Papp also emphasized that if victims believe their cases are not being addressed, “they can email me. I’m in the global directory. It will be taken care of.”

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