Admiral Thad W. Allen assumed the duties of the 23rd Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on May 25th, 2006. During his tenure as the top officer of the nation's oldest continuous sea service he led the effort to reform and modernize all aspects of the Coast Guard, thereby "improving and sustaining Mission Execution." As Admiral Allen continually stated his ultimate aim was to make the Coast Guard a "change-centric" organization capable of quickly and efficiently adapting to meet the growing and ever-changing demands of the future. Additionally he was the first high ranking member of the Federal government to embrace social media, pioneering the effort to connect to his audience through all manners of digital technology.
Although his Modernization program was an important aspect of what Admiral Allen accomplished during his tenure, he also led the service during a time when it responded to a number of significant national and international incidents, including hurricanes, floods, search-and-rescue cases, oil spills and other environmental incidents. He led the effort to explore the changing Arctic, solidified the Coast Guard's relationships with the nation's other armed services and Federal partners, and reached out to the private sector to gain their input and trust. During his final months in office he led the Coast Guard's exemplary response to the earthquake in Haiti and then, first as Commandant and concurrently as the National Incident Commander, he led the nation's response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, holding the latter post well after his tenure as Commandant had come to a close.
Admiral Allen completed his four-year term as Commandant on 25 May 2010 and he officially retired from the Coast Guard on 30 June 2010.