This was Zukunft's third State of the Coast Guard Address and he emphasized the service as a unique instrument of national security.
First and foremost an armed service, the Coast Guard is the only branch of the U.S. armed forces that has broad law enforcement authorities and a portfolio of more than 60 bi-lateral agreements that extend around the globe, Zukunft said. The service also secures thousands of miles of maritime borders in the United States in addition to advancing maritime commerce and economic security, he added.
Zukunft spoke of the Coast Guard's past year and provided a roster of achievements including working to deliver the first heavy icebreaker by 2023, standing up the Arctic Coast Guard Forum with coast guards of eight Arctic Council nations, and recent accomplishments of cutters on patrol interdicting hundreds of millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs that didn't make it to the shores of the United States.
He also focused on the $4.5 trillion of economic activity on the nation's waterways, shore infrastructure, technology issues and budgetary concerns.
Read a transcript of the commandant's speech and a video of the State of the Coast Guard Address.