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U.S. CODE
TITLE 14
COAST GUARD

Version 2010-02-01

Last update 2011-11-13


  • REGULAR COAST GUARD
    • ESTABLISHMENT AND DUTIES
    • COMPOSITION AND ORGANIZATION
    • FUNCTIONS AND POWERS
    • COOPERATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES
    • COAST GUARD ACADEMY
    • PERSONNEL
      • OFFICERS
        • a. appointments
        • b. selection for promotion
        • c. promotions
        • d. discharges; retirements; revocation of commissions
        • e. separation for cause
        • f. miscellaneous provisions
      • ENLISTED MEMBERS
      • GENERAL PROVISIONS
      • SPECIAL PROVISIONS
    • PAY, ALLOWANCES, AWARDS, AND OTHER RIGHTS AND BENEFITS
    • REPEALED
    • ADMINISTRATION
    • COAST GUARD HOUSING AUTHORITIES
    • ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE AND RESTORATION PROGRAM
  • COAST GUARD RESERVE AND AUXILIARY
    • COAST GUARD RESERVE
      • SUBCHAPTER A
        • general
      • SUBCHAPTER B
        • commissioned officers
    • COAST GUARD AUXILIARY
    • GENERAL PROVISIONS FOR COAST GUARD RESERVE AND AUXILIARY
  • Version 2010-02-01

PART I

REGULAR COAST GUARD

I - CHAPTER 1

ESTABLISHMENT AND DUTIES

Establishment of Coast Guard

The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times. The Coast Guard shall be a service in the Department of Homeland Security, except when operating as a service in the Navy.



Primary duties

The Coast Guard shall enforce or assist in the enforcement of all applicable Federal laws on, under, and over the high seas and waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; shall engage in maritime air surveillance or interdiction to enforce or assist in the enforcement of the laws of the United States; shall administer laws and promulgate and enforce regulations for the promotion of safety of life and property on and under the high seas and waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States covering all matters not specifically delegated by law to some other executive department; shall develop, establish, maintain, and operate, with due regard to the requirements of national defense, aids to maritime navigation, ice-breaking facilities, and rescue facilities for the promotion of safety on, under, and over the high seas and waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; shall, pursuant to international agreements, develop, establish, maintain, and operate icebreaking facilities on, under, and over waters other than the high seas and waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; shall engage in oceanographic research of the high seas and in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; and shall maintain a state of readiness to function as a specialized service in the Navy in time of war, including the fulfillment of Maritime Defense Zone command responsibilities..

Relationship to Navy Department

Upon the declaration of war if Congress so directs in the declaration or when the President directs, the Coast Guard shall operate as a service in the Navy, and shall so continue until the President, by Executive order, transfers the Coast Guard back to the Department of Homeland Security. While operating as a service in the Navy, the Coast Guard shall be subject to the orders of the Secretary of the Navy who may order changes in Coast Guard operations to render them uniform, to the extent he deems advisable, with Navy operations.



Operation as a service in the Navy

Whenever the Coast Guard operates as a service in the Navy:

(a) applicable appropriations of the Navy Department shall be available for the expense of the Coast Guard;

(b) applicable appropriations of the Coast Guard shall be available for transfer to the Navy Department;

(c) precedence between commissioned officers of corresponding grades in the Coast Guard and the Navy shall be determined by the date of rank stated by their commissions in those grades;

(d) personnel of the Coast Guard shall be eligible to receive gratuities, medals, and other insignia of honor on the same basis as personnel in the naval service or serving in any capacity with the Navy; and

(e) the Secretary may place on furlough any officer of the Coast Guard and officers on furlough shall receive one half of the pay to which they would be entitled if on leave of absence, but officers of the Coast Guard Reserve shall not be so placed on furlough.



"Secretary" defined

As used in this title, the term "Secretary" means the Secretary of the respective department in which the Coast Guard is operating.



I - CHAPTER 3

COMPOSITION AND ORGANIZATION

Grades and ratings

In the Coast Guard there shall be an admiral, vice admirals; rear admirals; rear admirals (lower half); captains; commanders; lieutenant commanders; lieutenants; lieutenants (junior grade); ensigns; chief warrant officers; cadets; warrant officers; and enlisted members. Enlisted members shall be distributed in ratings established by the Secretary.



Active duty promotion list

(a) The Secretary shall maintain a single active duty promotion list of officers of the Coast Guard on active duty in the grades of ensign and above. Reserve officers on active duty, other than pursuant to an active duty agreement executed under section 12311 of title 10, retired officers, and officers of the permanent commissioned teaching staff of the Coast Guard Academy shall not be included on the active duty promotion list.

(b) Officers shall be carried on the active duty promotion list in the order of seniority of the grades in which they are serving. Officers serving in the same grade shall be carried in the order of their seniority in that grade. The Secretary may correct any erroneous position on the active duty promotion list that was caused by administrative error.

(c) A person appointed in the grade of ensign or above in the Regular Coast Guard shall be placed on the active duty promotion list in the order of his date of rank and seniority.

(d) A Reserve officer, other than one excluded by subsection (a), shall, when he enters on active duty, be placed on the active duty promotion list in accordance with his grade and seniority. The position of such a Reserve officer among other officers of the Coast Guard on active duty who have the same date of rank shall be determined by the Secretary.



Number and distribution of commissioned officers

(a) The total number of commissioned officers, excluding commissioned warrant officers, on active duty in the Coast Guard shall not exceed 6,700 in each fiscal year 2004, 2005, and 2006.

(b) The commissioned officers on the active duty promotion list shall be distributed in grade in the following percentages, respectively: rear admiral 0.375; rear admiral (lower half) 0.375; captain 6.0; commander 15.0; lieutenant commander 22.0. The Secretary shall prescribe the percentages applicable to the grades of lieutenant, lieutenant (junior grade), and ensign. The Secretary may, as the needs of the Coast Guard require, reduce the percentage applicable to any grade above lieutenant commander, and in order to compensate for such reduction increase correspondingly the percentage applicable to any lower grade.

(c) The Secretary shall, at least once each year, make a computation to determine the number of officers on the active duty promotion list authorized to be serving in each grade. The number in each grade shall be computed by applying the applicable percentage to the total number of such officers serving on active duty on the date the computation is made. In making computations under this section the nearest whole number shall be regarded as the authorized number in any case where there is a fraction in the final result.

(d) The numbers resulting from such computations shall be for all purposes the authorized number in each grade, except that the authorized number for a grade is temporarily increased during the period between one computation and the next by the number of officers originally appointed in that grade during that period and the number of officers of that grade for whom vacancies exist in the next higher grade but whose promotion has been delayed for any reason.

(e) Officers who are not included on the active duty promotion list, officers serving as extra numbers in grade under sections 432 and 433 of this title, and officers serving with other departments or agencies on a reimbursable basis or excluded under the provisions of section 324 (d) of title 49, shall not be counted in determining authorized strengths under subsection (c) and shall not count against those strengths. The number of officers authorized to be serving on active duty in each grade of the permanent commissioned teaching staff of the Coast Guard Academy and of the Reserve serving in connection with organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training the reserve components shall be prescribed by the Secretary.

Repealed

Section, act Aug. 4, 1949, ch. 393, 63 Stat. 498, provided for relative rank of commissioned officers with respect to Army and Navy officers. See section 741 of Title 10, Armed Forces.





Commandant; appointment

The President may appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, one Commandant for a period of four years, who may be reappointed for further periods of four years, who shall act as Chief of the Coast Guard. The Commandant shall be appointed from the officers on the active duty promotion list serving above the grade of captain who have completed at least ten years of active service as a commissioned officer in the Coast Guard. The Commandant while so serving shall have the grade of admiral.



Repealed

Section, act Aug. 4, 1949, ch. 393, 63 Stat. 498, related to permanent grade of Commandant on expiration of term.





Retirement of Commandant

(a) A Commandant who is not reappointed shall be retired with the grade of admiral at the expiration of the appointed term, except as provided in subsection 51(d) of this title.

(b) A Commandant who is retired for physical disability shall be placed on the retired list with the grade of admiral.

(c) An officer who is retired prior to the expiration of his term, while serving as Commandant, may, in the discretion of the President, be retired with the grade of admiral.