Commandant of the Coast Guard Sees MPA as Seminal

Admiral Karl Schultz
Admiral Karl Schultz, MPA ’92

Happy National Military Appreciation Month! We are so thankful for the service and sacrifice of members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Space Force and National Guard as well as the contribution of their spouses. In celebration we decided to highlight Department of Public Policy (DPP) alum and the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, Admiral Karl Schultz. 

Last month, Admiral Schultz served as the keynote speaker at the DPP’s 2021 Awards Night and Pi Pi Alpha Induction. He credits the DPP for providing a broadening experience, and allowing him to expand his role in the broader organizational picture within the Coast Guard.

After completing his MPA in 1992, he immediately began to seek ways to give back and initially began in policy work. Later he pursued regulatory roles and opportunities in national security and international policy. The Admiral joked during his keynote address, “…I arguably have trouble holding a job…” as he has served 18 tours of duty over his 38 years of service. His acts of service have not gone unnoticed, and in 2018 he became the 26th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard. In this capacity he oversees all global Coast Guard Operations. 

On the policy front, he served with the State Department and focused on international narcotics and global maritime agreements. He credits the “insights and savvy” from UConn for allowing him to think through solutions in Washington. This included the establishment of a Coast Guard officer at intersections in Havana, Cuba. 

In a regulatory capacity, he worked in our nation’s Capitol with Congress, the House and Committee Staff. He helped to examine the intersection of policy, human resources and procurement to improve understanding about the Coast Guard. The Admiral explains that this, “…all leads back to what I learned about bureaucracy and my MPA coursework… I can tie the skill sets that I have had the privilege to employ with the Coast Guard career back to my UConn experience.” 

While in Washington he played a key role in moving the Coast Guard from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security, and helped establish this military branch as a main member of the national intelligence community. As a Service Chief, the Admiral works with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense.

When thinking about public service he addressed the tremendous opportunity, challenge and unmatched reward. He says, “It’s the ability to come to work every day and make a difference, and that UConn and my participation in the UConn MPA program was absolutely seminal to the opportunities I’ve been afforded.” The Admiral compared the experience to a snowball that provided an opportunity to recharge and think about next steps, while also opening doors.

As his tenure comes to a close in the next 15 months, the Admiral looks forward to telling the story of the Coast Guard through a national museum based here in Connecticut. He also looks forward to collaborating with public servants across Connecticut to showcase the State and the role of the Coast Guard. At the conclusion of his remarks last month he noted, “…there are places you can go and make more money, but I am not sure if there are places you can go with more reward.”

We thank the Admiral and all those who have served and their spouses for their service and sacrifice. The DPP is proud to have so many service members in our Network. Learn more about the Admiral’s illustrious career in our Special Edition News Story about the 2021 Awards Night.

Posted by Kish, Lian in Alumni