President Joe Biden plans to nominate Adm. Linda Fagan as the next commandant of the Coast Guard, making her the first uniformed woman to lead a military branch.
The news was first reported by USNI News. Officials with knowledge of the nomination confirmed the news ahead of the formal announcement, expected to come this week.
Fagan has been the vice commandant of the service since last June, when she became the first woman four-star admiral in Coast Guard history. If confirmed, she will replace Adm. Karl Schultz, who has served in the top service role since June 2018 and is set to retire in May.
The potential gap in leadership between Schultz’s departure and his replacement’s confirmation has raised concerns among lawmakers in recent weeks. On Monday, Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., sent a letter to the White House urging the president to nominate a new Coast Guard leader as soon as possible.
“Ensuring continuity of leadership is of the utmost importance to our national and economic security,” the pair wrote.
“The Coast Guard is at the forefront of a number of strategic priorities for the United States, from the growing importance of security in the Arctic, to drug interdiction, environmental protection, and leading emergency response on the frontlines of the climate crisis.”
Fagan has served in the Coast Guard for 36 years. Her prior commands include leading Coast Guard Defense Force West and deputy commandant for operations, policy and capability.
She has served in leadership roles on all seven continents, according to her official biography. She is also the longest serving active-duty Marine Safety Officer, and was awarded the service’s first-ever Gold Ancient Trident.
Congress is scheduled to break for two weeks starting this Friday, but could schedule confirmation hearings for Fagan in late April or early May.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.
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