Sometimes referred to as simply “Gold Badges,” Gold Badge Command Master Chiefs (CMCs) serve as Command Senior Enlisted Leaders (CSELs) at an Area-level or equivalent organization. In contrast to Silver Badge Command Chiefs, who are assigned to non-flag commands above the unit level, Gold Badges must be at the E-9 paygrade. Other eligibility requirements for consideration as a Gold Badge CMC include graduation from a senior leadership academy (CPOACAD, for example), eligibility for a TS/SCI clearance (for Area-level candidates—District-level requires TS clearance only), and having less than 30 years of active service before January 1 of the year in which they are being considered for assignment.

As the liaison between the Coast Guard’s enlisted personnel and its officers and senior leaders, Gold Badge CMCs provide a voice for the concerns of the workforce, from morale and working conditions to educational and advancement opportunities. But Gold Badges are also the direct representatives of their principal commander, and as such they are tasked with bolstering interagency and inter-service partnerships to further organizational goals. This entails working closely with Chiefs operating in their Areas of Responsibility to ensure that all components are operating in a manner consistent with the Commandant’s Direction.

Other tasks of Gold Badge CMCs include mentoring and guiding Silver Badges so they may advance to higher levels of command authority, making visits to Training Centers to get a better grasp of the types of experiences and training junior personnel are undergoing, and coordinating the Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year program (this job falls to the nine CMCs reporting to District Commanders).

Several changes have been made to the types of Gold Badge Command Master Chief Badges that are issued, most notably in the addition of specific descriptions for some CMC positions that replace the generic “COMMAND” that was previously used for them. CMC billets with unique badges includes those in the two Area commands (Atlantic and Pacific), the Deputy Commandants for Mission Support and Operations respectively, and Coast Guard Reserve Force. (Rating Force Master Chiefs and the Deputy Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard also have unique badges.)

Not counting these CMC billets, there were only 14 active-duty Gold Badge positions as of 2016. These are found at the nine District Commands, the Joint Interagency Task Force South, Force Readiness Command, the Coast Guard Academy, the Personnel Service Center, and the Director of Operational Logistics. Eight Reserve Gold Badge positions are also billeted, encompassing seven Districts and the Director of Operational Logistics command.

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