The United States Coast Guard’s Command Senior En-listed Leader (CSEL) Program mirrors the one that the Navy first announced in the mid-1990s. Originally designed as a way to leverage the experience of Master Chief Petty Officers (E9) by making them liaisons between commanders and enlisted personnel, the program now includes positions for Senior Chiefs (E8) and Chiefs (E7) at Flag and non-Flag commands and at the unit level. It was inspired by the significant impact made by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy rate, established in 1967 to provide enlisted personnel with a spokesperson to directly relate their concerns to the service’s highest-ranking officials; the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard rate was created in 1969.

As the direct representative of their principals, CSELs play a vital role in maintaining smooth, efficient day-to-day operations. They are given unrestricted contact with enlisted Coast Guard personnel, and their opinions and advice help shape strategies and policies aimed to improve the morale and job satisfaction of the workforce.

Whether Chiefs, Senior Chiefs, or Master Chiefs, Coast Guard personnel designated as the CSEL at the unit-level are awarded the Collateral Duty Silver Badge and are chosen for this designation by the unit’s Commanding Officer. (The first flag officer in the unit’s chain of command determines if the commander may designate a Collateral Duty Silver Badge Command Chief position.) Although unit commanders are not required to pick the most senior “Chief” (quotations are used because it may be filled by personnel at E7 through E9), they are strongly encouraged to do so and should have a discussion with their Gold Badge Command Master Chief regarding their reasons for bypassing the more experienced Chief.

Listings of Collateral Duty Silver Badge positions are created by the Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, the Deputy Commandant for Operations, and Area and District Commanders. Executive and Engineer Petty Officers are excluded from consideration for the positions, as are personnel serving as Officers in Charge, Drug/Alcohol Representatives, or Housing and Equal Employment Opportunity Officers. Units that have three or fewer Chiefs on its Personnel Allowance List are not allowed to designate a Collateral Duty Silver Badge position.

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