Pacific Area Commander Tapped As Next Coast Guard Commandant

The White House has nominated the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area commander to be its next commandant.

Vice Admiral Paul Zukunft was nominated Friday to replace outgoing Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp. Papp gave his final “State of the Coast Guard” address of his four-year term on Wednesday.

Zukunft has served as Pacific Area commander since 2012. Before that, his duties included serving as the federal on-scene coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

Zukunft was in Alaska last month to cut the ribbon on the new Coast Guard Sector Anchorage headquarters at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Senator Lisa Murkowski attended.

She called Zukunft’s nomination good news for Alaska in a statement Friday. She said when she met Zukunft, she was ”impressed immediately with his leadership and intelligence – but also with his background and knowledge base in the Pacific and the Arctic.”

Zukunft’s nomination requires confirmation by the Senate. He would be the Coast Guard’s 25th commandant.

Annie Ropeik is a reporter for KUCB in Unalaska.

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