President Biden has nominated Admiral Linda Fagan for the top spot in the United States Coast Guard. If confirmed, Fagan will be the first woman to lead a US military branch.

“I’m honored to nominate Admiral Linda Fagan as Commandant of the US Coast Guard. Her leadership and integrity are second to none. If confirmed, Adm. Fagan will be the first woman in history to serve as Commandant and the first female service chief,” Biden wrote in a tweet.

Admiral Fagan currently serves as the number two official in the Coast Guard, second only to incumbent Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz. The position of Commandant of the Coast Guard oversees all Coast Guard operations worldwide and leads 41,700 active service people. Schultz is set to retire following the change of posts this summer.

He praised the Vice Commandant in a statement,

“Admiral Fagan is an exceptional senior Coast Guard officer and nominee, possessing the keen intellect, the depth of operational experience, and the well-honed leadership and managerial acumen to serve with distinction as our Service’s 27th Commandant,” Adm. Schultz said.

Portrait of Admiral Linda Fagan, Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard under President Biden (United States Coast Guard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Admiral_Linda_L._Fagan,_Coast_Guard_Vice_Commandant.jpg
Portrait of Admiral Linda Fagan, Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard under President Biden (United States Coast Guard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons).

Fagan’s nomination will be reviewed by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. If approved, she will become the 27th Commandant of the Coast Guard, set to take her post in a change of command ceremony on June 1 in Washington.

Democratic Senators Maria Cantwell and Sen. Tammy Baldwin wrote to President Biden last Friday asking for the “prompt nomination” of the new Coast Guard chief, referencing that Schultz will be required to retire on May 31.

“Given the time required to confirm the nomination in the Senate, it is imperative that we receive the official as soon as possible. Ensuring continuity of leadership is of the utmost importance to our national and economic security,” the two senators wrote.

Sen. Cantwell, the chair of the Senate Committee, praised Fagan’s nomination, saying that it will “inspire generations of American women to strive to serve at the highest level in the Armed Forces.”

The Republicans on the Committee also gave praise to the nomination of Fagan on Twitter.

“@POTUS has finally nominated an outstanding leader for @USCG. If confirmed, Linda L. Fagan would be the first female Commandant of the @USCG. It is important for the Commerce Committee to proceed efficiently, so the Coast Guard is not left without a leader,” the tweet said.

Additionally, the White House nominated Vice Admiral Steven Poulin to the post of Vice Commandant. He is the current Commander of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area. He graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1984 and previously served as Judge Advocate General and Chief Counsel of the Coast Guard.

“My Administration is committed to seeing more qualified women at the highest levels of command and making sure women can succeed and thrive throughout their military careers,” Biden wrote in a follow-up tweet.

Who is Admiral Linda Fagan?

Adm. Linda Fagan assumed her duties as the 32nd Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard in June 2021. She has been the recipient of multiple individual and team awards, including the Gold Ancient Trident medal in her 36 years of service. Notably, she has served on all seven continents.

She is a graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy with a degree in Marine Science. She holds two master’s degrees, one in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington and another in National Resource Energy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

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“Adm. Fagan is a tremendous leader, trailblazer, and respected public servant who will lead the Coast Guard across its critical missions with honor,” wrote Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement. “She has served on seven continents, was previously commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, and is the officer with the longest service record in the marine safety field.”

Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Paul Zukunft, stands with the first Ancient Tridents, Admiral Linda Fagan and Master Chief Petty Officer Richard “Shane” Hooker during the Ancient Trident Ceremony held at the Alexander Hamilton Custom House, March 23, 2017. The Ancient Trident Award, similar to the other Ancient awards (Albatross, Mariner, and Keeper), honors an officer and enlisted member for distinguished service in the Marine Safety field. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Frank Iannazzo-Simmons, U.S. Coast Guard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:First_Ancient_Tridents_named_170323-G-ZV332-118.jpg
Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Paul Zukunft, stands with the first Ancient Tridents, Admiral Linda Fagan and Master Chief Petty Officer Richard “Shane” Hooker, during the Ancient Trident Ceremony held at the Alexander Hamilton Custom House, March 23, 2017. The Ancient Trident Award, similar to the other Ancient awards (Albatross, Mariner, and Keeper), honors an officer and enlisted member for distinguished service in the Marine Safety field. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Frank Iannazzo-Simmons, U.S. Coast Guard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Before she was Vice Commandant, Fagan led the Coast Guard Pacific Area from June 2018 to June 2021. She was the former Deputy Director of Operations for Headquarters at the US Northern Command and led the First Coast Guard District in Boston. She also served on sea duty in the 399th heavy polar ice breaker, USCGC Polar Star.

“Within the Coast Guard and across the Department of Homeland Security, Adm. Fagan is admired as a role model of the utmost integrity, and her historic nomination is sure to inspire the next generation of women who are considering careers in military service,” Mayorkas further wrote.