The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) recognized its Research and Development Center’s (RDC’s) success in delivering innovative cutting-edge technology to front-line operators on April 8 when the RDC received the USCG’s Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) for the first time in 21 years.
The Coast Guard MUC, established in November 1973, may be awarded to any unit of the Coast Guard that has distinguished itself by either valorous or meritorious achievement or service in support of Coast Guard operations not involving combat. The RDC received its first MUC in 1976 and its second in 2000.
The most recent MUC recognizes the RDC’s partnership-driven technological solutions that saved millions of dollars in contracting costs, while developing internal workforce expertise, between August 2017 and July 2020. These efforts included delivering innovative cutting-edge technology to front line operators during 34 field experiments and user evaluations across all nine Coast Guard districts.
For example, the MUC noted, “the RDC developed novel tactics, techniques, and procedures for removing oil from fresh water, providing on-scene commanders the best decision input for a previously overlooked threat.”
Partnerships within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and with the Department of Defense (DoD)—in particular “a persistent connection to the $100 billion Department of Defense (DoD) National Security Research Enterprise”—provided the foundation needed to facilitate the practical implementation of RDC technologies.
“Most notably, the RDC integrated and tested counter-unmanned aerial systems at sea, establishing the unit as the subject matter leader within both the DoD and DHS,” the MUC noted. “Responding to national strategic priorities, the RDC leveraged a $26 million DHS investment to design, build, and operate the Department’s first satellite mission to evaluate CubeSat technology applications for search and rescue, with a particular focus on the Arctic.”
Rear Admiral Michael Johnston, USCG’s Assistant Commandant for Acquisition & Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO) (CG-9) presented the most recent MUC to Al Arsenault, the Coast Guard Research and Development Center’s Technical Director.
The Coast Guard Research and Development Center is currently commanded by Captain Dan Keane, who succeeded Captain Greg Rothrock in a virtual ceremony on May 1, 2020.