Enhancing recruitment and retention of volunteers in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
Dooris, Matthew D.
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The U.S. Coast Guard lacks the personnel and resources to fill critical gaps in its safety and security missions without help from its volunteer arm, the Coast Guard Auxiliary. It is for this reason that Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard leaders have become dependent on the Auxiliary to achieve a number of Coast Guard missions, a reliance that has become more tenuous as Auxiliary membership dropped 20.61% since 2003 to the current 28,635. This trend is in sharp contrast to membership trends in other large volunteer groups in the U.S. Further, at its current strength, the Auxiliary is far from the 48,000 member goal declared mission-critical by 2000 in the 1987 Coast Guard report to the U.S. Congress. This thesis describes the Auxiliary's 69-year history and examines the reasons for the organization's decreasing membership. In this process, the thesis also revealed the absence of a systematic, quantitative tool to assess Auxiliary recruiting and retention practices. This thesis proposes the use of the Coast Guard Organizational Assessment Survey, already administered to all other components of the Coast Guard and which, tailored to the Auxiliary, would be extremely effective in stimulating a genuinely useful approach to increasing Auxiliary membership.
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