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AdmiralThad W. Allen

Former Commandant of the Coast Guard


Adm. Thad W. Allen served as the 23rd Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard from May 2006 to May 2010.

Admiral Allen leads the largest component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), comprised of about 40,150 men and women on Active Duty, 7,000 civilians, 8,000 Reservists and 34,000 volunteer Auxiliarists.

The Coast Guard is America’s oldest continuous seagoing service and is a Federal law enforcement agency as well as a branch of the armed forces. The Coast Guard serves the American people by saving lives and property at sea; ensuring the safety of thousands of professional mariners and millions of recreational and commercial vessels; protecting our ports and maritime infrastructure from terrorism, securing our borders, maintaining aids to navigation, responding to natural disasters, defending our Nation, conducting humanitarian operations, protecting our marine environment, and keeping shipping routes in the Arctic and Great Lakes open and clear of hazards.

Admiral Allen is known for his leadership in times of crises and his tremendous ability to effect change in an ever changing world. Nowhere was this more evident than in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, when he served as the Principal Federal Official for response and recovery operations, while also serving as the Coast Guard Chief of Staff. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he was responsible for leading Coast Guard forces as Commander of the Atlantic Area and U.S. Maritime Defense Zone Atlantic.

In his thirty eight years of service, Admiral Allen has held operational command both at sea and ashore, conducting missions to support the maritime safety, security and environmental stewardship interests of the Nation. As a Flag Officer, he commanded the Seventh Coast Guard District, where he directed all operations in the Southeastern United States and Caribbean. He served aboard cutters Androscoggin and Gallatin and commanded the Citrus. He wore a dual hat as Commanding Officer of Group Long Island Sound and Captain of the Port, and he commanded Group Atlantic City and Long-Range Aids to Navigation (LORAN) Station Lampang, Thailand. Today, Admiral Allen is leading the Coast Guard through significant modernization to better organize, train, equip, and deploy our men and women to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Admiral Allen graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1971, and holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the George Washington University, and received their Alumni Achievement Award in 2006. He also holds a Master of Science degree from the Sloan School of Management of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2007, Admiral Allen was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the National Graduate School.

Among his many personal awards, Admiral Allen was the first recipient of the Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal and has been awarded three Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medals and the Legion of Merit. He is a native of Tucson, Arizona and the son of retired Coast Guard Chief Damage Controlman Clyde and Mrs. Wilma Allen.