The Commandant’s Staff Identification Badge has been awarded to Coast Guard personnel serving on the Commandant’s personal staff for decades. While the issuance of the badge—first on a temporary basis, then for permanent wear following a year of satisfactory on-the-job performance—has always been in the hands of the Commandant’s Staff, previous editions of the service’s Uniform Regulations (COMDTINST M1020.6 series) went a step further and denoted specific positions and billets that were authorized to wear the badge.

In the 1991 edition (COMDTINST M1020.6C), for example, these included personnel in billets that were listed on the Personnel Allowance List for both the Commandant’s and Vice Commandant’s staffs, as well as the personnel serving as the Directors of various departments such as Quality and Total Quality Management Advisor, International Affairs, Public Affairs, and Strategic Planning. The 2016 edition, on the other hand, states merely that the badge is awarded to personnel who have been assigned to positions that have been certified by the Commandant’s Executive Assistant.

While the Coast Guard is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, the Commandant is not a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (which coincidentally has its own Staff Identification Badge), due to the fact that it falls under the control of the Department of Homeland Security rather than the Department of Defense. The title of “Commandant” was established in 1923, eight years after the current incarnation of the Coast Guard was created through the merger of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life-Saving Service.

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