Saturday afternoon began with a session on how the change to sectors would impact the Auxiliary. Captain Dean Lee, Chief –Boat Forces led the discussion.
In a presentation he called “Sector 101,” Captain Lee described “sectorization” as the end of “M” and “O” as we know it. “It’s about bringing together human resources, logistics, and assets/resources. Basically the sector concept makes sense,” he said.
Captain Lee stated that the “sectorization” plan calls for combining the existing 43 Groups with the existing 52 Marine Safety offices (MSOs) into approximately 40 sectors. Sectors will resemble somewhat the concept of “Activities” that were in place in New York, Baltimore, and San Diego (i.e. Activities New York).
“The sectorization process will take place over the next two years.” said Captain Lee. “Even though this greatly reduces the number of command billets in the Coast Guard, it still makes good business sense.”
Captain Lee described the sector as having three basic departments: (1) prevention; (2) response; and (3) logistics. “Many, but not all of the MSO missions have been prevention, and many but not all of the Groups missions have been response,” he said. “What sectors basically will do is categorize personnel and assets into prevention, response, or logistics activities/missions. The sector is process based, not program based”
“However, there is a concept called the homeroom concept,” Captain Lee continued. “Just as everyone has a homeroom in high school, at many times, they are physically located elsewhere, and may be doing other things (missions) than what they would be doing in their homeroom.”
Captain Lee cited an example of Facility Inspectors (normally a prevention activity) who might be asked to assist with a pollution investigation (a response activity). He stated that this aspect of sectors made the system fluid and flexible, and was a more efficient use of people and resources.
Other terminology will be introduced as a result of “sectorization.” There will be Sector Field Offices (SFOs) to represent outlying groups where response assets are necessary, and Marine Safety Units (MSUs) to handle what had been done through the use of Marine Safety Detachments.
Next, Captain Lee described the organization chart for the sector. “Legal terms and titles, such as Captain of the Port (COTP), and Federal Maritime Security Coordinator (FMSC) will reside with the Sector Commander (typically a Captain). Other terms previously held by the commanding officer of MSOs – Federal On Scene Coordinator (FOSC) and Officer In Charge-Marine Inspection (OCMI) can be delegated by the Sector Commander.”
He then gave specific examples of the type of assets and activities that would go into the various sector components. “The Response Department would include air operations, patrol boats, incident management activities, and law enforcement activities. The Prevention Department would include all Inspectors, the Regional Exam Centers (RECs), and Aids to Navigation Teams. The traditional command center at a Group would probably become part of the Logistics Department, and may include contingency planning, and interaction with state and local agencies.”
“The sector concept represents a major cultural change,” said Captain Lee. “Each side (M and O) initially thinks they’re losing something. In order for this to succeed, we’re going to need great leadership.”
“Bottom line is - sectors are all about command and control, and no Coast Guard owned facilities will be lost,” he said.
Captain Lee also noted the Auxiliary will play a key role in the sector concept. “There will be a senior level Auxiliarist working with the Sector Commander. We are currently refining their duties and responsibilities. But you can rest assured; the Auxiliary will be a key component in the overall success of sectors.”
“Bear with us,” he asked the audience, “There will be kinks that need to be ironed out. I am asking you as Auxiliarists to try to understanding the changing roles that sectors will bring.”
In summation, Captain Lee asked the Auxiliary to “think outside
the box and be a disciple of sectors.” Moreover, he concluded
by asking the Auxiliary’s senior leadership to begin now to realign
themselves to better integrate themselves into the sector structure.