Chapter 2

The U.S. Coast Guard—Orchestrating Stretch Response

How the U.S. Coast Guard Saved Victims of Katrina

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has the mission to protect the U.S. coastline and assist with major natural disasters. The performance of the Coast Guard during Hurricane Katrina was hailed as a remarkable example of execution when faced with strong negative odds. In an interview in 2010 with Analytics magazine, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the Coast Guard “punches far above its weight class.”1 During Katrina’s aftermath, the Coast Guard rescued more than 33,500 people over a few weeks—6 times as many people than the Coast Guard saved in all of 2004. As the writer in Time magazine put it, “So how ...

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