Schultz, Karl


Karl Schultz is a retired four-star Admiral who last served on active duty as the 26th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard from June 2018 to June 2022.  His tenure as a flag officer spanned 12 years, and prior to becoming Service Chief, served as the three-star Atlantic Area Commander responsible for execution of all Coast Guard missions from the Rocky Mountains east to the Arabian Gulf.  Other flag assignments were joint duty as Director of Operations (J-3), United States Southern Command; Eleventh Coast Guard District Commander; and Director, Coast Guard Governmental and Public Affairs where he oversaw the Service’s engagement with Congress, the media, and other external stakeholders.

Over his 39-year career, Schultz held command at seven paygrades, including 3 multi-mission cutters, one of the Service’s most dynamic multi-mission Sectors, and as a flag officer at the District, Area, and Service Chief levels.  As Commandant his bold vision and purposeful execution of a comprehensive four-year strategic plan optimally positioned the Service to protect the Homeland, enhance the Nation’s economic prosperity, and advance America’s maritime interests across the globe, all while forging a more inclusive Service increasingly reflective of the Nation’s demographics.  Of note, he led through a period of unprecedented demand for Coast Guard services from both the Administration and DoD Geographic Combatant Commanders, a milestone period for the Service’s recapitalization of both operational capabilities and infrastructure, and through the unique challenges presented by the most active hurricane seasons on record, a 35-day partial government shutdown leaving Coast Guardsmen unpaid, and a protracted Global Pandemic.

Schultz is a 1983 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Connecticut, and completed a one-year National Security Fellowship at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Staff assignments include Congressional and State Department liaison tours, as well as assignments in both personnel management and operations.

He serves as a Senior Fellow at the National Defense University, as an Executive Fellow for the Institute for Defense and Business at the University of North Carolina, as a member of the Defense Advisory Board for SAILDRONE, and the Advisory Board for the National Medal of Honor Center for Leadership. He also does some consulting work for the private, non-profit corporation - Institute for Defense Analyses.