Admiral Paul Zukunft assumed the duties of the 25th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on May 30, 2014. He leads the largest component of the Department of Homeland Security, composed of 88,000 personnel including active duty, reserve, civilian and volunteer Auxiliarists.
Prior to this, Admiral Zukunft served as Commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, where he was operational commander for all U.S. Coast Guard missions in an area encompassing more than 74 million square miles and provided mission support to the Department of Defense and Combatant Commanders. Other Flag assignments include Commander of the Eleventh Coast Guard District and Director, Joint Interagency Task Force West, where he served as executive agent to United States Pacific Command for combating Transnational Criminal Organizations in the Asia-Pacific Region.
In 2010, Admiral Zukunft served as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon Spill of National Significance where he directed more than 47,000 responders, 6,500 vessels and 120 aircraft during the largest oil spill in U.S. history. His senior staff assignments included Chief of Operations, Coast Guard Pacific Area and Chief of Operations Oversight, Coast Guard Atlantic Area where he directly supervised all major cutter operations in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. He also served as Chief of Staff, at the Fourteenth Coast Guard District in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Admiral Zukunft has commanded six units and served extensively in the cutter fleet where he commanded the cutters CAPE UPRIGHT, HARRIET LANE, and RUSH.
A native of North Branford, Connecticut, and Admiral Zukunft graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Government; from Webster University in 1988 with a Master of Arts degree in Management; and from the U.S. Naval War College in 1997 with a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. He is a graduate of the Asia Pacific Center for Strategic Studies Executive Seminar and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government National Preparedness Leadership Initiative course.
His personal awards include both the Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medals, Defense Superior Service Medal, three Legions of Merit and five Meritorious Service Medals with "O" device among others.