•  Carrier


Resourceful Readiness
Energy Management and the Coast Guard

To sustain response-level energy management in the face of emerging mission and fiscal challenges, the U.S. Coast Guard will maximize efficacy and affordability while implementing aggressive tactics to validate fully-burdened fuel and energy costs associated with response-level readiness.


 By Sam Alvord



Coastguardsmen moving a fuel tie.

Members of the USCGS Stratton move an electrical shore tie into place at their homeport in Alameda, Calif. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS THOMAS MCKENZIE  


The U.S. Coast Guard is a unique federal agency residing within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that operates as one of the five U.S. military services. It is distinguished from its Department of Defense (DOD) military counterparts due to its continuous interactions with, and proximity to, the communities it serves.

As the nation’s maritime first responder, the Coast Guard’s multi-missions secure the nation’s waterways and coastlines, save lives, promote marine safety and aid commercial maritime activities. This all must be achieved continuously, during normal routines, and following major natural disasters and significant events.



The Coast Guard has remained Semper Paratus, or “Always Ready,” to provide these critical response services to the American public. Current challenges, however—including fiscal constraints as mature infra­structure continues to age, and increased calls for interoperability with DHS, DOD, state, local and tribal resources—requires a new kind of readiness, a resourceful readi­ness, to sustain current and future response-level energy management.

The Coast Guard introduced resource­ful readiness as part of its revised Energy Management Policy, COMDTINST M4100.2E, promulgated in March 2013. By the policy’s definition, resourceful readiness is the opti­mal balance between mission effectiveness, sustainment and economic consequence.

Resourceful readiness provides “the ability to apply resources effectively to maximize readiness to execute Coast Guard missions with minimal fiscal, energy and environmental burden.”

By balancing these components, resourceful readiness serves as a strategic energy management assessment that fosters mission criticality and sound business practices. As part of this commitment to efficacy and affordability, the Coast Guard is implementing aggressive tactics to vali­date fully-burdened fuel and energy costs associated with response-level readiness. A new data analysis tool, Coast Guard–Total Energy Resource Reporting and Accounting (CG-TERRA), is being tested and is planned to provide unprecedented granularity.

Coast Guard headquarters units, train­ing centers, area, district, base and sectors across the enterprise are currently deliv­ering their first comprehensive Energy Logistics Support Plans (ELSPs) designed to synchronize steady-state and contingent energy logistics. The Coast Guard simply cannot support the nation’s maritime response needs if it cannot support its own portfolio of mission assets, petroleum logis­tics and energy needs, let alone its respon­sibilities for other DHS components. ELSPs are intended to be that first piling on the bridge between Coast Guard assets and the community and network of suppliers that the service will leverage to get the job done.



In 2012, the Coast Guard initiated development of CG-TERRA to address the immediate need for enterprise-wide fuel expenditure data requirements. CG-TERRA is a web-based energy portfolio tool that captures financial and energy data from multiple Coast Guard sources into a single reporting solution. Data includes historical and current energy commodity obligations, expenditures and consumption. The Coast Guard developed the automated process to replace and reduce erroneous data entry while increasing transparency at all levels.

CG-TERRA allows the Coast Guard to update Energy Budget Models and corresponding funds distribution with more accurate asset burn rates. This gives area and district operators the tools to make informed trade-offs between asset mixes and maximize limited operational resources. The updated burn rates and expedited consumption data also facilitate more efficient fiscal year closeout for general operating and unit-level maintenance funds. This enables field financial managers to better estimate energy expenditures.

After several developer trials and refine­ments to the interface and data fidelity, the Coast Guard began testing CG-TERRA with numerous field units in January 2015. Initial testing concludes this spring. Lessons learned will be incorporated into a new phase of CG-TERRA, planned to deploy later this year to a wider Coast Guard audi­ence. With more precise data, units will be able to better manage energy through data-driven strategies and develop ELSPs.

Coast Guard energy management

The Coast Guard Energy Logistics Support Plans are intended to be that first piling on the bridge between Coast Guard assets and the community and network of suppliers that the service will leverage to meet its many diverse mission requirements. U.S. COAST GUARD IMAGE



The Coast Guard procures energy and fuel commodities through various mili­tary and commercial distribution systems that vary by geographical and economic constraints. With approximately $250 million in fuel expenditures annually, judicious energy preparedness improves readiness, mitigates higher-risk procure­ment and avoids associated costs.

As part of its revised Energy Management Policy, the Coast Guard mandated ELSPs to further optimize use of DOD and DHS procurement programs and logistic opera­tions. ELSPs ensure that the right energy commodity is being delivered at the right place at the right price.

ELSPs capture recurring and emerging fuel and energy requirements, including: 

  • Who can provide energy within the applicable area of responsibility.
  • What kind of energy source is needed.
  • Where energy commodities should be staged.
  • When energy commodities can be deliv­ered to activities and tactical assets.

Moreover, ELSPs harmonize existing Coast Guard incident management plans and identify interagency agreements to provide interoperable mission support services quickly and efficiently.

Many federal, state, local and tribal enti­ties struggle with resilience planning—both for their internal needs and their external interfaces. Moving forward, the Coast Guard will leverage current tactics and resultant fully-quantified energy and fuel costs over the next three-to-five years to explore industry partnerships.

re-fueling a Coast Guard helicopter

A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter is refueled at Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles, Wash. As part of the Coast Guard’s revised Energy Management Policy, the service is implementing aggressive tactics to validate fully-burdened fuel and energy costs associated with response-level readiness. U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS KATELYN SHEARER



The Coast Guard will look to public-private partnerships to bolster fuel reli­ability, minimize risks and centralize procurement. Specifically, it will explore relationships that add capability and maintain financial auditability during steady-state tempos, and add redundancy during contingency operations through use of off-the-grid fuel terminals. The Coast Guard has made great strides in this regard by partnering already with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and procuring nearly 90 percent of its steady-state tactical and shore liquid fuels through DLA-awarded petroleum contracts.

The Coast Guard’s vision is advanced through increased industry partnerships, tailored at the regional level, that it will utilize to bolster interoperability and surge response to the communities it safeguards while maintaining fiscal transparency throughout natural disasters and contin­gent operations. Moreover, the Coast Guard will rally these partnerships to advance mission-appropriate renewable energy initiatives to reduce energy vulnerabilities at facilities that host mobile assets.

The Coast Guard must provide the inputs that DLA needs to support multi-agency assets and ensure its infrastructure is modern and robust enough to provide direct industry feedback that ultimately stream­lines the entire logistical supply chain.

To do this, the Coast Guard must make a holistic attempt to ensure contingency capabilities and profitability for its critical suppliers, increase electric grid resiliency at a minimum to the storage and petro­leum distribution infrastructure, and mini­mize the time it takes to satisfy ordering, receipt, and accounting requirements. The American public expects nothing less—and it all starts with a robust ELSP.

Tomorrow’s energy management chal­lenges will demand a new service-centric capability. The Coast Guard will continue to pursue effective, sustainable and afford­able mission support—remaining always resourceful…and Always Ready.



Sam Alvord is Chief, Office of Energy Management (CG-46), U.S. Coast Guard; 202-475-5562, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The views herein are those of the author and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Commandant or of the U.S. Coast Guard.