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United States Coast Guard
Management Alert - The United States Coast Guard Discontinued the Use of Functional Firearms in DVD Simulation Training
During our ongoing audit of DHS law enforcement virtual training, we learned that the Coast Guard uses functional firearms to conduct DVD-based simulation training. We identified this issue in Coast Guard’s Commandant Instruction 3574.5C, 18 September 2014, Coast Guard Judgmental Use of Force Evaluation and observed a demonstration of this training at one Coast Guard location.
Management Alert - The United States Coast Guard Discontinued the Use of Functional Firearms in DVD Simulation TrainingExecutive Summary
During our ongoing audit of DHS law enforcement virtual training, we learned that the Coast Guard uses functional firearms to conduct DVD-based simulation training. We identified this issue in Coast Guard’s Commandant Instruction 3574.5C, 18 September 2014, Coast Guard Judgmental Use of Force Evaluation and observed a demonstration of this training at one Coast Guard location. According to testimony or policy from four other DHS components that employ or train law enforcement personnel, the use of functional firearms during video-based simulation training is prohibited within their respective components. By using functional firearms capable of firing ammunition, even if emptied of ammunition, in DVD-based simulation training, Coast Guard increased the risk of unintentional injury or death. Coast Guard concurred with our recommendation and took immediate corrective actions to discontinue the use of functional firearms during DVD-based simulation training. The recommendation is resolved and closed.Report NumberOIG-21-67Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2021
Coast Guard Should Prioritize Upgrades to Rescue 21 Alaska and Expand Its Public Notifications during OutagesExecutive Summary
Summary: Rescue 21 Alaska, Coast Guard’s maritime search and rescue communication system, has experienced outages resulting from antiquated equipment in Coast Guard’s District 17. Challenges and funding shortages during system acquisition caused Coast Guard to limit the purchase of new equipment for Rescue 21 Alaska, requiring District 17 to maintain existing equipment for longer than initially planned. Alaska’s winter weather conditions and remote access to communication site locations cause lengthy repair times, further exacerbating the outage impacts. The outages have prevented Coast Guard, at times, from effectively receiving and responding to distress calls from mariners. Coast Guard has made some upgrades to the Rescue 21 Alaska system to enhance distress communication availability and reliability. Although Coast Guard plans for further upgrades, outages persist. When notifying the public about the outages, Coast Guard primarily relies on a “Local Notice to Mariners” posted on their public website. However, this limits who can receive the notices, as not all mariners go to the internet to determine outage locations. Alaska mariners shared other effective methods Coast Guard could use to improve its notifications to the public when there are known VHF distress communications outages. Adequately upgrading the communications equipment and ensuring robust attempts are made to notify the public when outages occur is essential for Coast Guard to achieve its search and rescue mission in Alaska. We made two recommendations to ensure the Coast Guard is prioritizing Rescue 21 Alaska upgrades and appropriately notifying the public of outages. Coast Guard concurred with both recommendations.Report NumberOIG-21-65Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2021
DHS OIG Substantiates Whistleblower Retaliation Allegation against a U.S. Coast Guard Member in Violation of the Military Whistleblower Protection Act
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For Immediate ReleaseDownload PDF (141.9 KB)
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigated allegations that a U.S. Coast Guard member was retaliated against for making protected communications under the Military Whistleblower Protect Act, 10 U.S.C. § 1034.
The investigation found that the member made a protected communication and that several personnel actions were taken against the member after the member made the protected communication, including a negative performance evaluation that did not include a recommendation for advancement.
DHS OIG found that the member’s supervisors expressed animosity against the member and others for their involvement in the making of the protected communication, which resulted in an internal investigation. DHS OIG also determined that during the member’s counseling session regarding the performance evaluation, the member’s immediate supervisor criticized the member for making the protected communication and accused the member of having “jumped the chain of command.”
DHS OIG found, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that the member would not have received a negative performance evaluation, nor suffered other personnel actions, in the absence of the member’s protected communication.
DHS OIG provided its report of investigation to the Acting Secretary for appropriate action under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act.Oversight Area
The U.S. Coast Guard Academy Must Take Additional Steps to Better Address Allegations of Race-Based Harassment and Prevent Such Harassment on CampusExecutive Summary
We identified 16 allegations of race-based harassment involving cadets between 2013 and 2018 that the Coast Guard Academy (the Academy) was aware of and had sufficient information to investigate and address through internal hate and harassment procedures. The OIG identified issues in how the Academy addressed 11 of them. First, in six incidents, the Academy did not thoroughly investigate the allegations, and/or did not discipline cadets when investigations documented violations of cadet regulations or Coast Guard policy. In two of these instances, cadets committed similar misconduct again. The Academy also did not fully include civil rights staff as required in six instances (including two of the instances noted previously). Therefore, civil rights staff could not properly track these incidents to proactively identify trends and offer the Academy assistance. In addition, in one incident involving a potential hate allegation, the Academy did not follow the Coast Guard process for hate incidents. Finally, our review determined that race-based harassment is underreported at the Academy for various reasons, including concerns about negative consequences for reporting allegations. Underreporting is especially concerning because our questionnaire results and interviews indicate harassing behaviors continue at the Academy. We made five recommendations that will enhance the Academy’s ability to address harassment and hate allegations, including ensuring the Academy consistently investigates allegations, requiring the reasons for disciplinary decisions be documented after race- or ethnicity-based harassment investigations, informing civil rights staff of all misconduct that could reasonably relate to race or ethnicity; and improving training related to preventing and addressing race-based or ethnicity-based harassment or hate incidents. The Coast Guard concurred with all recommendationsReport NumberOIG-20-36Issue DateDocument FileOversight AreaFiscal Year2020
DHS Should Seek a Unified Approach when Purchasing and Using Handheld Chemical Identification DevicesExecutive Summary
DHS does not have a unified approach for procuring and using handheld chemical identification devices despite the widespread use of these devices across multiple components. We recommended DHS establish a process to coordinate joint needs across components and maximize savings from strategic sourcing opportunities. We made two recommendations that should help improve unity of effort in procuring and using handheld chemical identification devices. DHS concurred with recommendation 1 but did not concur with recommendation 2.Report NumberOIG-20-16Issue DateDocument FileOversight AreaKeywordsFiscal Year2020
Whistleblower Retaliation Report of Investigation Regarding Alleged Reprisal Against a USCG Lieutenant Commander and Lieutenant