The following is the text of a press release issued by U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md.:
(WASHINGTON) — Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, (MD-07), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, convened a hearing Tuesday regarding Civil Rights programs and diversity initiatives in the United States Coast Guard.
The hearing examined a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concerning changes made by the Coast Guardâ€™s Civil Rights Directorate. The Subcommittee also examined diversity at the Coast Guard Academy. Consultants at Booz Allen Hamilton made 53 recommendations in an assessment of the Coast Guard Civil Rights Services released in early 2009. The Civil Rights Directorate reported that it has implemented 52 of Booz Allen Hamiltonâ€™s 53 recommendations.
However, the GAO report indicated that implementation of these recommendations may not be fully completed. The report argues that achieving long-term changes in the Civil Rights Directorate requires development of a clear vision of outcomes to be achieved by reform, and of measurable steps that can be used to assess progress toward the achievement of these outcomes.
â€œI have had justifiable concerns in the past regarding the effectiveness of the Coast Guardâ€™s Civil Rights services given multiple third-party and internal assessments pointing to long-standing challenges to the effective delivery of such services in the Coast Guard,â€ said Cummings. â€œI applaud the speed with which the Civil Rights Directorate has moved to seize the initiative and respond to the findings of the Booz Allen Hamilton report. However, with todayâ€™s GAO report in mind, I am concerned that the Coast Guard must be clear that the changes it makes in its Civil Rights programs will improve the provision of Civil Rights services.â€
By contrast, diversity at the Coast Guard Academy is likely to be significantly increased in the incoming class of 2014.
According to current data, approximately 16 percent of the appointments offered to the Class of 2013 went to minority students and the incoming class was similarly comprised of approximately 15 percent minority students.
As of April 19th 2010, 23 percent of those offered admission to the Academyâ€™s Class of 2014 were minorities, and approximately 25 percent of those who had accepted admission offers were minorities.
â€œI am very pleased with what the Academyâ€™s expanded recruitment initiatives have thus far achieved,â€ said Cummings. â€œHowever, maintaining increased levels of minority applications and enrollments will likely continue to require a concerted outreach effort and it is therefore imperative that expanded recruitment initiatives be institutionalized within the Coast Guard Academy.â€
Cummings asked the Subcommittee Ranking Member, Congressman Frank LoBiondo, and the Chairman of the full Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Congressman James Oberstar, as well as the Ranking Member of the full Committee, Congressman John Mica to join him in asking the GAO to conduct a new analysis of the Coast Guardâ€™s Civil Rights programs. This proposed study will examine the effectiveness of the changes made by the Civil Rights Directorate. Chairman Cummings intends to re-convene the Subcommittee in about a year to receive the results of the new report.