Maritime Enforcement Specialist (ME) is one of the most recently established Coast Guard ratings. The decision to establish a new rating with extensive law enforcement and security responsibilities was first announced by Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen in June, 2008; the rating’s title was announced two months later, along with the establishment of the CWO specialty Maritime Law Enforcement Specialist (MLES). Members of the Port Security Specialist (PS) rating were given the opportunity to laterally enter the new ME rating, with the PS rating slated to be disestablished effective December 31, 2009; the ME rating was stood up on January 1, 2010.

Coast Guard personnel seeking a career in the ME rating must meet several requirements before they are accepted at the rating’s “A” School held at the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy in Charleston, South Carolina. One of these is to pass a more stringent physical examination such as the Deployable Specialized Forces Tier II Physical Fitness Test; benchmarks include being able to perform 39 sit-ups and 29 pushups in a minute each, swimming 500 yards in under 12 minutes, and running a mile-and-a-half in under 13 minutes. Candidates must also pass a background check to earn security clearance, as well as have no convictions on domestic violence charges or any restraining orders that prohibit them from carrying a firearm.

The curriculum of the ten-week ME course includes sections on Anti-Terrorism, Force Protection, Security, Law Enforcement, Communications, Weapons Proficiency Safety, Training and Administration, and Leadership. To graduate, candidates must achieve full weapons qualification (Basic and Practical Pistol, Basic and Combat Rifle, Judgmental Pistol, and Shotgun).

Maritime Enforcement Specialists are deployed across a wide variety of Coast Guard units. Naturally, they are billeted with Deployable Specialized Forces units such as Port Security Units (PSUs),  Tactical Law Enforcement Teams (TACLETs), Maritime Safety and Security Teams (MSSTs), and the Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT). They are also deployed to Coast Guard Police Departments, Stations, Sectors, Cutters, and Maritime Force Protection Units, which are single-mission units tasked with the protection of the Navy’s Trident submarines as they transit to and within their home port areas.

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