Unraveling the history of the Warrant Officer Port Safety and Security (PSS) specialty is maddeningly difficult because of an almost complete lack of historical documentation regarding ratings and CWO specialties on various Coast Guard Web sites.

One document endorsed by the Coast Guard titled U.S. Coast Guard Enlisted Ratings, Rating Specialty Marks, & Distinguishing Marks 1915 – 2011 states that a rating (not the CWO specialty) of “Port Securityman” was in effect from 1982 to 1999, but the 1988 Coast Guard Personnel Manual lists the rating as Port Security Specialist and also indicates that it is a feeder rating for the CWO PSS specialty. But just three years later, the 1991 USCG Uniform Regulations do list Port Securityman as a rating, and also affirm that the CWO specialty of Port Safety and Security was still active.

Looking over the confusing record, what is most likely is that the CWO specialty was established in 1982 or shortly thereafter; this is the date that the Port Security Specialist (or “Specialist Port Security,” depending on which source you trust) was established. What is clear beyond a doubt, however, is that (1) it was a rating and a CWO specialty for members of the Coast Guard Reserve; (2) it is not listed as an active CWO specialty in the June 1017 edition of COMMANDANT INSTRUCTION M1420.1m, Appointing Warrant Officers; and (3), its insignia is still listed in the most recent (2016) edition of Coast Guard Uniform regulations.

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