President Joe Biden announced he is nominating Adm. Linda Fagan to serve as the next Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, which would make her the first woman to ever lead a U.S. military branch if confirmed.
On April 1, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, sent a letter along with Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., to Biden, requesting he give a “prompt nomination” of the next commandant of the military branch. The current commandant, Adm. Karl Schultz, will retire on May 31, and the committee oversees and confirms all Coast Guard promotions.
“We believe that prompt action to nominate the next Commandant of the United States Coast Guard is imperative to national and economic security, as well as maintaining our commitment to the brave women and men who serve our nation as coasties,” the letter read.
On Tuesday, Biden announced the nomination of Fagan, saying in a Twitter post his administration is “committed to seeing more qualified women at the highest levels of command and making sure women can succeed and thrive throughout their military careers.”
Fagan is currently vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, and she has worked on all seven continents during her 36-year career with the branch, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
She is currently the longest-serving active duty Marine Safety Officer, giving her the title of the branch’s first-ever Gold Ancient Trident. As second in command, her current duties include executing strategic intent and managing internal organizational governance, among others.
Following Biden’s announcement, Cantwell said in a statement that Fagan has shown strong leadership in her role and her nomination would “inspire generations of American women to strive to serve at the highest level in the Armed Forces.”
“This nomination proves the value of enacting laws that provide family leave, childcare, and health care access to support talented women in the Coast Guard who have dual roles as service members and parents,” she said.
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The committee’s ranking GOP member, Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, said in a statement to USA TODAY that Fagan is “an outstanding leader for our nation’s Coast Guard.”
“She has the experience and knowledge the service needs. The Commerce Committee must act swiftly to ensure a smooth transition of leadership,” Wicker said.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas also praised the nomination and urged the committee “swiftly confirm” Fagan.
If Fagan is confirmed, she would assume the role at a change of command ceremony in Washington, D.C. on June 1.
“Admiral Fagan is an exceptional senior Coast Guard officer and nominee, possessing the keen intellect, the depth of operational experience, and the well-honed leadership and managerial acumen to serve with distinction as our Service’s 27th Commandant,” Schultz said in a statement.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.
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