Get Started
Why Join

As an officer on the response career path, you’ll gain the skills and experience to manage and execute shore-based Coast Guard operations, like search and rescue, law enforcement, coastal security, environmental response, and emergency management.

As you progress in your career, you’ll get experience in additional subspecialties. At the mid-career level, you’ll likely have an assignment as the Response Department Head at a Coast Guard Sector in charge of all Response mission areas. Eventually, you’ll be able to compete for command of a Coast Guard Sector.

Search and Rescue Coordination

You’ll stand watch in a Coast Guard Command Center and manage the response to distress calls, and plan search patterns to locate missing mariners.

Maritime Law Enforcement

You’ll perform missions for coastal security, living marine resources law enforcement, and general law enforcement, and get trained in the use of force, tactical procedures, and defensive tactics.

Boat Forces Operations

You’ll get certifications for the Coast Guard’s shore-based small boats, and be responsible for their safe navigation and operations as you conduct search and rescue and law enforcement missions.

Marine Environmental Response 

You’ll become an expert on federal environmental law and regulations and be responsible for directing the removal and mitigation of oil and hazardous substances from the marine environment.

Deployable Specialized Forces

You’ll work closely with the Department of Defense and be available to deploy anywhere in the U.S. on short notice as the premier force for high-risk maritime operations, such as security threats, helicopter insertions, opposed boardings, and close-quarters combat techniques.

Emergency Management

You’ll help plan and coordinate response to major disasters with federal and state agency partners, local organizations, and your port’s maritime industry focusing on port security and readiness, as well as environmental protection.

How to Enter the Specialty

Start your response career through a general commissioning source like Officer Candidate School and choose assignments in the specialty.