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October 01, 2018

Thompson Introduces Coast Guard Academy Diversity Reform Legislation

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, announced the introduction of new legislation to improve diversity and institute other necessary reforms at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The Coast Guard Academy Improvement Act (H.R. 6905) is a response to the low levels of minority enrollment at the Academy and news accounts of allegations of a discriminatory and racially hostile environment at the Academy.

Congressman Thompson released the following statement on H.R. 6905:

“The Coast Guard can only be strengthened by ensuring its Academy, which educates future generations of Coast Guard leadership, better reflects the people of our great Nation. It is clear that to achieve this, and address recent racially hostile incidents, reforms are required.  A lack of racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity at the Academy can have a detrimental effect on cadets and the Coast Guard as whole. I introduced the Coast Guard Academy Improvement Act to leverage outside expertise to make the institution better. Transparency and accountability will go a long way to cultivating a supportive and inclusive environment at the Academy so that the institution as a whole embodies the Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty.”

Key features of the Coast Guard Academy Improvement Act:

  • Establishes a Coast Guard Academy Cultural Reform Commission to make recommendations to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment.
  • Mandates a Recruitment and Retention Plan to improve recruitment and retention of cadets, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds.
  • Formally authorizes the Academy Minority Outreach Team (AMOT), with permanent leadership, that has been credited with helping bring and keep more minority cadets.
  • Creates a Cybersecurity Rotational Program for Academy graduates and faculty with cybersecurity expertise to work at other DHS components. DHS Employees could also be detailed to the Academy.
  • Requires the Coast Guard to select up to 50 percent of each incoming class from a Congressionally-nominated candidate pool.
  • Formally authorizes and expands the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI) scholarship program for qualified undergraduates to receive a guaranteed commission as an officer after completing their undergraduate studies.

Legislation Fact Sheet

Legislation Text

Legislation Section by Section Summary

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978