Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen has agreed to remain in his current role as National Incident Commander for the administration's continued, coordinated response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill after stepping down from his post as Coast Guard Commandant later this month as planned—enabling him to focus solely on managing the unprecedented response effort.
"Because Admiral Allen's leadership has been so critical to our coordinated response to the BP Oil Spill, I have asked him—and he has agreed—to stay on as National Incident Commander after he steps down as Commandant of the Coast Guard later this month," said Secretary Napolitano. "I commend his dedication to continuing to lead our administration-wide efforts to ensure that every available resource is leveraged efficiently and effectively to mitigate the spill's impacts."
"Since this event began, my focus has been on managing the all-hands-on-deck response to this ongoing incident," said Admiral Allen. "Remaining in my current role as the National Incident Commander after being relieved as the Commandant will allow me to focus solely on this critical response, and Admiral Papp on the vital work of the Coast Guard."
As planned and previously announced, Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., will relieve Admiral Allen as Commandant later this month.
As National Incident Commander, Admiral Allen works closely with Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry, the federal on-scene coordinator, and the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Interior and Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal departments and agencies as appropriate—as well as BP, the responsible party in the spill—to oversee the continued deployment and coordination of vital response assets, personnel and equipment that have been activated since immediately after the spill.
Admiral Allen has overseen Coast Guard efforts since the event's first moments, when the Coast Guard launched a search and rescue operation in response to the April 20 explosion in order to save lives. Since then, the administration has continuously anticipated and planned for a worst case scenario, and Admiral Allen has led and coordinated ongoing federal actions to mitigate the oil spill, for which BP is responsible and required to pay response and cleanup costs.
Admiral Allen became the 23rd Commandant of the Coast Guard on May 25, 2006, leading approximately 42,000 men and women on active duty, 7,000 civilians, 8,000 reservists and 34,000 volunteer auxiliarists. The Commandant is the only four-star Admiral of the Coast Guard, and is appointed for a four year term by the President of the United States.
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