STATEMENT BY HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY MICHAEL CHERTOFF ON THE NOMINATION OF VICE ADMIRAL THAD W. ALLEN AS COMMANDANT OF THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD President Bush has announced his intention to nominate an exceptional leader and public servant as Commandant of the Coast Guard in Thad Allen. Thad has my complete confidence and full support, and if confirmed, he will play a major role in shaping the future of this department. Most Americans came to know and respect Thad for his work overseeing the federal government’s recovery efforts following the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. Thad is a highly-accomplished Coast Guard veteran who has served our nation in several key positions since his graduation from the Coast Guard Academy in 1971. His service includes Chief of Staff and Commanding Officer at headquarters; Commander of the Atlantic Area, Fifth Coast Guard District; Commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District; Director of Resources; and Commander of the cutter Citrus. In response to 9/11, Thad led Coast Guard operations to re-position the Atlantic fleet in support of local port commanders and to establish critical command and control capability. If confirmed, Vice Admiral Allen will follow a distinguished Commandant in Admiral Thomas H. Collins, at a scheduled change of command in May. Admiral Collins has led the Coast Guard during one of the more challenging periods in its history. He helped to ensure a seamless transition into the department and introduced emerging technologies and innovative programs that have enhanced overall mission performance. I thank Admiral Collins for his continued service and commend his dedication to country.