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Name: Papp, Robert
Current Position: Previous Commandant

The United States Coast Guard (USCG), gained a new leader on May 25, 2010, when Commandant of the Coast Guard Thad Allen finished his four-year tour in the post. President Obama chose Coast Guard Vice Admiral Robert A. Papp to be next Commandant. The Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime and can be transferred to the Department of the Navy during wartime, has about 42,000 active-duty men and women and 7,000 civilian employees. The USCG’s budget has increased substantially since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and it has become a key player in addressing some of the nation’s most complex security problems, including international smuggling and terrorism. 

Papp takes over at a time when the Coast Guard is under great pressure because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Allen, the man he is replacing, will continue to be incident commander for the federal government’s response to the spill.
Born in Norwich, Connecticut, October 18, 1953, Papp is a 1975 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy. He also earned an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College and an M.S. in Management from Salve Regina College.
Papp is a career Cutterman, having served in six Coast Guard Cutters and commanded several others. He also served as commander of a task unit during Operation Able Manner off the coast of Haiti in 1994, preventing Haitians from entering the U.S. illegally. Additionally, in September 1994 his task unit augmented U.S. Naval Forces during the Operation Uphold Democracy, in which U.S. forces invaded Haiti. From 1995 to 1999, Papp commanded the academy’s training ship, the Barque Eagle, an assignment he often describes as the best in the Coast Guard. His assignments ashore have included Commandant of Cadets staff at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard. Papp was promoted to Flag rank in October 2002 and appointed the Director of Reserve and Training. He was responsible for managing and supporting 13,000 Coast Guard Ready Reservists and all Coast Guard Training Centers. From 2004 to 2006, he served as Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, with responsibilities for Coast Guard missions on the Great Lakes and Northern Border. While serving as the Coast Guard’s Ninth District Commander he was designated to serve as the principle federal coordinator of the Iraqi election in Dearborn, Michigan, Major League Baseball’s 2005 All-Star Game in Detroit, and Super Bowl XL in Detroit. From 2006 to 2008, Papp served as the Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard in Washington, DC, with responsibility for strategic-level development of policy, organization, and resource allocation for the entire Coast Guard.
In July 2008, Papp became Commander of the Atlantic Area, which runs east from the Rocky Mountains to the Persian Gulf. As Atlantic Area commander, Papp dealt with one of the Coast Guard’s most embarrassing recent incidents, a training exercise on the Potomac River near the Pentagon on September 11, 2009, which many thought was an actual terrorist event. President Obama was speaking at a Pentagon memorial service at the time, and the drill sparked widespread alarm. In Papp’s assessment of the incident, which involved forces under his command, he noted that while the exercise didn’t violate any policies, it was “ill-advised” and showed a lack of judgment among those involved.
Papp is married to the former Linda Kapral, whose father, Captain Frank Kapral, also a Coast Guard officer, is a member of the Coast Guard Academy Athletic Hall of Fame. They have three daughters, Lindsay, Caitlin and Jillian, and one granddaughter.
- Matt Bewig
ADM Papp Defines Guiding Principles (by Christopher Lagan, Coast Guard Compass)
Papp is Nominated for Top CG Post (by Jennifer Grogan, The Day)
Coast Guard Drill, Misunderstood, Sets Off 9/11 Scare (by Scott Shane and Brian Stelter, New York Times)
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