CS AO Road Show Q&A and Video Link (Sept 2022):

The link for the recorded video (TEAMS ON YOUR WORKSTATION*** ) is https://uscg-my.sharepoint-mil.us/:v:/g/personal/nicholas_j_wernicke_uscg_mil/EYr27qVTODdNrHLlSt-YbK4BeDI0CvuA2DSJ4b62KT4xdQ

CS AO Road Show Q&A Notes:
U.S. Coast Guard Personnel Service Center
Culinary Specialist Assignments

CWO Nicholas Wernicke, Assignment Officer CS1, CSC, CSCS, CSCM, SCA, PATRFORSWA
Office Phone: (202) 795-6570
Cell Phone: (201) 874-1320
E-Mail: Nicholas.J.Wernicke@uscg.mil

CSCS Nicholas Wright, Assignment Officer CS2, CS3, “A” School,
Phone: (202)795-6595
E-Mail: Nicholas.A.Wright@uscg.mil

1. There is talk of bringing civilian chefs to the Coast Guard and once completion of CS “A” School that will advance to E-5. I don’t see a problem with this as we need bodies and we clear the list from E-4 to E-5 anyway so competing in the E-5 SWE is nonexistent to an extent. What does that mean as they will lack training for IDFSO or FSO for paperwork. Will they get the training in that before they are thrown to the fire? Will they have sometime thrown into basic training to experience military understanding and leadership? As well as how will that effect billet structure? Are we placing them in land units thus pushing “true” active duty CS’s to mostly cutter life? Or are we keeping it fair for the work/life balance? How soon is the civilian to E5 coming online?

Answer: There is currently a proposal out there for bring members in to the Coast Guard that have a lot to offer in regard to the CS rating. The proposal would allow members that have culinary experience from the outside enter the CG at the E-5 level and be placed at in an assignment that affords the member the opportunity to learn and be acclimated to the CG climate. The idea is to place the new members at one of three different tiers depending on vacancy, with Tier 1 being the CSA’s, Tier 2 consisting of the Bases and Tier 3 consisting of the Sectors/Air Stations. At these units the member would be required to complete the RPQ’s that were identified through extensive research, discussion and collaboration between CG-1113 and TRACEN Petaluma. Once these members were deemed competent in these RPQ’s they would then be placed into the TDY pool to deploy for short stints to be introduced to underway life as well as gain another perspective from leaders out in the field in any shortfalls/ incompetency’s that this member still has so that once they returned back to their duty station, they could be trained to and identify any training gaps. This is one of many concepts that are being brought to the table. If you would like to discuss this please reach out to CSCS Nick Wright, CSCS Ed Fuchs or CWO Nicholas Wernicke and we can dive down a little deeper.

2. Is PVA and PERPETUAL C School going to be required for E5 and E7 advancement?

Answer: While there is no current requirement for the PVA or Perpetual “C” School, we highly encourage all members to attend this course. Both courses are going to be tied to a competency code that looks extremely well for boards and panels. In addition, any Special Duty Pay will be tied to having those competencies, so it will be imperative that you obtain them.

3. With the shortage of cooks wanting to get underway, if a cook wants to get underway will they be denied if they have lots of sea time or consecutive sea tours?

Answer: If a member is seeking another assignment afloat after having completed several tours afloat already, it ultimately comes down to what the members wants. While we have to ensure that all members are afforded the opportunity to obtain the required sea time requirements for advancement, if a member desires and has EARNED, through the assignment process another afloat tour, then we will ultimately give it to them.

4. What is the projected advancement numbers for E6 and above looking like for the next few years?

Answer: The advancement process is a very fluid process that changes every day. To accurately project out future advancement numbers you would have to guess how many members are going to apply for special assignments, put in retirements, separate, be placed into Support Allowance Billets, make CWO, etc. If you want to get an idea of how the advancement process works, our best guess is to take a look at past cuts and advancements. The E6 through E8 advancements have been pretty consistent throughout the years, with some obviously being larger years than others, but we have always seen a steady progression in those ranks.

5. What are the rates current numbers?

Answer: The current rating numbers are as follows: Short as of today 9/1/2022- 110 CS3’s (approx. 30%) and 40 CS2’s (approx. 10%).

6. Will out of rate or special assignment jobs be denied to CS due to a shortage of CS?

Answer: No. Special Assignment positions are a vital component to the Coast Guard and one that can have a profound impact on a member’s career. We encourage all of our members to apply for special assignments. While we are short CS, we need great CS out there providing that top coverage and spreading the word for us, especially in the recruiting jobs so that we can attract members into the Coast Guard. With that, we are asked if we can release a member and we still have to maintain a balance of how many we release without putting ourselves into even worse conditions than we are now. So please continue to apply, as it is a true testament to how great the CS rating is that so many of our members get pulled to fill these positions.

7. Is there any talk of billet rank mismatches with the shortages to fill underway billets?

Answer: In the current state, nothing is off the table and it will be based on a case by case basis. If you have specific questions please reach out.

8. Is there talk of pulling CS from stations and sticking them on boats due to more afloat needs than ashore needs?

Answer: There are no talks of pulling any CS out of assignments to fill a gap at the cutter. If members advance, we advance to vacancies which means you may leave your current assignment early due to the advancement. If you are interested in leaving early, members may always request a short tour.

9. Other than Alameda are there talks of any other main hubs for CS?

Answer: There are talks occurring to bring on other hubs such as CSA Yorktown and CSA Alameda (2023). Such places that are in discussion are Charleston, Elizabeth City, Cape May and New London. These are just talks for now and in the early stages of discussion.

10. We understand the lack of CS’s and the same with land billet selection. However with the lack of CS personnel to fill much needed gaps why do we have out of rate billets. For example MWR, they have civilians and NAAF employees to run the enlisted/officer clubs. Why are we utilizing CS’s and not fighting to let them go. Especially when units are going against commandant instruction and having CS’s go outside of just managing the clubs. But actually man the bars, food, and events instead of the MWR staff! Unless we are missing something with the instruction, but nonetheless these are CS’s that could fill the needed gaps aka cutters.

Answer: Members ultimately earn the positions. MWR positions were put into place to aid in the CS sea to shore ratio, they are not out of rate positions, but are a unique opportunity for our members. If a member EARNS that position, we are going to give them it as the Assignment Officers. All MWR positions are now 3 year tour lengths and we are not going to entertain extensions at these units as we have a need for churn. However, these positions do offer some value to our members, especially those looking to maybe one day run their own business outside of the Coast Guard as they are, in some cases, more aligned with the industry doing a variety of things such as bartending, working with and hiring civilians etc.

11. With regards to the shortage of CS afloat, are commands being talked to about being reasonable when making TDY request support requests? and are the support hubs still being looked at to stop pulling members from ashore billets?

Answer: In regard to the shortage of CS afloat, Commands are already informed of the shortages happening across the enterprise. With that, CG-1113, the AO’s and the Subsistence Product Line are able to discuss with commands the impact these shortages are having on our rating and the need to send members TDY to support the mission. CSA Yorktown has 8 TDY support positions that are handling approximately 54% of all TDY afloat solicitations. Once CSA Alameda comes online, the hope is to bring the total number to approximately 80% and utilize the larger bases and sectors that have excess capacity based on utilization to support. If you are having issues with consistently being farmed out for TDY, please reach out to the stakeholders mentioned earlier and we can have that discussion.

12. What is the billet structure of CSA Alameda (How many CPO, PO1, PO2, etc.)

Answer: The billet structure for CSA Alameda will be as follows: 1-CSCM, 2-CSC’s, 4 CS’1, 8- CS2’s and 7-CS3’s

13. Will things like High-Year Tenure and the Weight Program be changed or postponed to help maintain CS’s?

Answer: High-Year Tenure is tentatively being put on hold due to the current staffing shortages. More details will be released via ALCOAST. As for members that are having trouble maintaining weight and at risk for getting kicked out, we have and do fight to retain members and will advocate to keep members. If you are having trouble making weight, please reach out and lets talk about it and see if we can develop a plan to get you on the right track.

14. What options does one have when you know your advancing and your command wants you to fleet up but you want to go to a new unit?

Answer: Give the Assignment Officers a call. We can discuss this with the member and the command.

15. Is there any thought as to restructuring some billets in order to improve retention. I.e. not short touring newly advanced personnel and allowing units that need qualified people to have members stay until tour complete, despite pay grade mismatch?

Answer: There are discussions to “band” billets together. During these discussions, we are looking specifically at the E7 and E8 CS positions due to the similarity between the platforms (WMSLs and WMECs) and the FSO position. What this means for the members is that all E7’s and E8’s would be able to compete for the same jobs and they would be able to fill any E7/E8 job that are available for the assignment year. This will afford our members greater geographic stability, reduce members being short toured due to advancement and assist in the sea to shore ratio for our E8’s. If you have any specific questions about this initiative please reach out.

16. Are we looking at trying to keep people in some geographical stability for the members? Like keeping people that want one coast or another or maybe something within certain districts?

Answer: See above question.

17. With the shortage in recruitment/cooks, is there any looking into adjusting the billets for land units to compensate for the shortage on cutters? Additionally, should shore units who have CSs transferring expect to not get a replacement?

Answer: With the current shortage of CS’s it should be expected that some billets are going to be gapped. Across the board, most units are short at least 1 CS, so having those discussions with the commands and keeping them in the loop is critical. Hopefully with some of the initiatives that we have discussed we can lower this gap and get back to full strength.

18.Can we attend the Perpetual “C” School course even though we are not in a current fso position?

Answer: Yes you can! Please reach out to the “C” School Chief Senior Chief Lyons for information on getting into the course.

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