Dan Abel tackles challenges from his experience of over 37 years of tactical to strategic roles in the Coast Guard, joint military settings, international engagements, industry teaming and the interagency.
His most recent role in serving our nation was to stand up and lead a COVID Joint Coordination Cell for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to enhance intra-HHS and interagency cooperation - ensuring the most effective lifesaving Federal pandemic response.
His final Coast Guard tour was as Deputy Commandant for Operations, where he set operational strategy, policy, guidance, and resources that addressed national priorities. This oversight of Coast Guard missions included: intelligence; international affairs; cyber; the maritime transportation system; search and rescue; maritime security; law enforcement; defense operations; environmental response; contingency planning; and the operational capabilities of cutter, boat, aviation, shore, cyber, and deployable specialized forces. Leading the Coast Guard’s maritime regulatory and inspection functions, he partnered with industry groups to ensure common sense safeguards for this transportation mode vital to our nation’s economy.
From a joint military perspective, he was the Deputy Director of Operations at U.S. Northern Command and focused on homeland security and support to domestic emergency response. He later was Director of Operations at U.S. Southern Command leading all U.S. defense operations and cooperation with the 31 nations of Central and South America. This required tasking effective counter-drug/migration operations plus responses to repeated hurricane destruction to vulnerable island nations, whose
response and recovery demanded the capability and capacity unique to the U.S. military.
At the senior, Admiral level, he commanded Coast Guard forces in our nation’s Northeast. Challenges included leading the Coast Guard response and recovery for Superstorm Sandy and then safeguarding and reassuring the City of Boston after the Marathon Bombing. More northward, he commanded Coast Guard forces in Alaska, confronting an evolving Arctic and directing operations in the North Pacific and Arctic Ocean. Of note was the teaming with industry and a myriad of Federal agencies for the safe exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea. He also oversaw significant international search & rescue and multinational fisheries enforcement efforts in the brutal climates of the Far North.
Spending his early Coast Guard years as an aviator, he earned aircraft commander in both helicopter and jet aircraft plus H65 instructor pilot, ultimately commanding Coast Guard Air Stations in San Francisco and Cape Cod. When not assigned to front line search and rescue/law enforcement units, his staff roles included being the Coast Guard’s Chief of Flight Safety and serving amongst the small cadre that crafts and defends the Coast Guard’s budget. Later, he was Program Manager of the “Rescue 21 Project,” a major acquisition program which recapitalized the nation's maritime distress alerting and Coast Guard’s command and control radio network.
He holds Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the Coast Guard Academy, a Master of Science Degree from The Eisenhower School of National Security and Resources Strategy, and an MBA from the College of William and Mary. He graduated from the DoD’s Senior Acquisition Corps syllabus, and then earned his DHS Acquisition Program Manager Designation. He holds FAA certifications in both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft and is a certified flight instructor in both. Admiral Abel is an Eagle Scout.