Coast Guard Specialized Forces Overview

U S Coast Guard Deployable Specialized Forces

U.S. Coast Guard Deployable Specialized Forces: D.O.G. - Deployable Operations Group

I have been asked by a few future Coast Guardsmen about the new fitness test utilized by DOG. First of all, I had to figure out what DOG was. After some research, the good news is that the fitness test is very similar to law enforcement fitness tests used by many federal and local police agencies. Also, DOG stands for Deployable Operations Group (DOG) and is considered the Coast Guard Special Ops Team. After September 11, 2001, the Coast Guard became part of Homeland Security and developed the DOG in order to establish a single command authority to rapidly provide the Coast Guard, DHS, DoD, DoJ and other interagency operational commanders adaptive force packages drawn from the U.S. Coast Guard's deployable specialized force units.

These six units, under a single command, create an organized quick reaction force that can be deployed to handle natural disasters, environmental catastrophes, terrorism and other threats to the United States and the world. The groups that are under DOG are the following:

MSRT -- Maritime Security Response Team

The premiere counter--terrorism teams of DOG are interoperable with DOD Special Operations Forces with port security, maritime interdiction, and other high threat events.

MSST -- Maritime Safety and Security Teams

Established in 2002, these tier 1 forces are anti terrorism and port security teams who can operate domestically as well as internationally. The MSSTs execute Coastal Security operations (enforce security zones, port state control boardings, protection of military out loads and major marine events, augment shore side security at waterfront facilities, detect WMD weapons/agents, and participate in port level anti-terrorism exercises.

NCWS -- Naval Coastal Warfare Squadrons

These Coast Guard units are part of an interoperable force and part of the Department of Defense international and domestic security. They provide anti-terrorism / force protection for forward deployed base camps and ports around the world where needed.

PSU -- Port Security Units

These units are integrated and interoperable and deploy nationally as well as internationally in support the Department of Defense port security. They can deploy within 24 hours.

NSF -- National Strike Force

These Coast Guard are immediate action teams and deploy to deal with HAZMAT, CHEM / BIO environmental disasters.

TACLET -- TACtical Law Enforcement Teams

Provide maritime drug interdiction and well as maritime interception domestically as well as where requested by the Department of Defense. Also they conduct training for foreign Navy and foreign Coast Guard.

For more information on the variety of missions done by these groups see the official Coast Guard website.

The Coast Guard Deployable Operations Group Tier 1 Fitness Test is: 

Men / Women All Ages
1.5 Mile Run 11:38
Situps 1 Minute 42
Pushups 1 Minute 38
300m Sprint 48 Seconds
Vertical Jump 23 Inches

This test is very similar to the FBI fitness test except for the Vertical Jump exercise. Training for it is not that difficult to organize into your week.

By using a standard split routine you can organize the workout week into progressive program. For instance:

Workout 1,3,5: Paced Cardio / Upper-Body / Abs & Lower-Back

Workout 2, 4: Leg PT / Sprinting

You can opt for a sixth workout in your seven day week, but I do recommend you give yourself 1-2 days rest for recovery. A workout #6 option would be to take a day off prior and do the full test in the order that you will be taking it. This will help you alleviate any PFT anxiety as after several times taking this test, it will become easy and feel just like another workout.

DOG Tier 2 Fitness Test for Men and Women Under 30 Years of Age:

Men Under 30 Years Old
1.5 Mile Run 12:51
Situps 1 Minute 38
Pushups 1 Minute 29
12 Minute Swim 500 Yards
Sit and Reach 16.5 Inches
Women Under 30 Years Old
1.5 Mile Run 15:26
Situps 1 Minute 32
Pushups 1 Minute 23
12 Minute Swim 400 Yards
Sit and Reach 19.25 Inches

The same can be done with the Tier 2 test as far as creating a split routine to prepare for the fitness test. Here is how I would recommend training for this different test:

Workout 1,3,5: Run / Upper-body / Swim / Abs & Lower-back

Make your workouts similar for the test complete with a run, upper-body PT or weights followed by a swim and stretch.

Workout 2,4: Weakness Day:

These days can be spent working on one of the two cardio testing events that you are having the most trouble with and resting the upper-body muscles from the day before. You can also do some leg PT to build up your leg endurance for the run.

The DOG Physical Fitness Test Exercises (Tips and Sample Workouts):


1.5 mile run:

• Pace, Breathing, Arm Swing, Stride -- Learn to regular your breathing by timing INHALES for 2-3 steps and EXHALES for 2-3 steps in a regular breathing rhythm to keep heart rate lower and running potential faster in the last ¼ mile.

• Arm Swing and Stride -- Arms should be slightly bent but relaxed and swing in a straight line not crossing your body. Stride and foot strike should be efficient enough so you are not running on your toes or too wide where you land on your heels. Foot strike should be closer to the balls of the feet but not flat footed.

• Injury Prevention / Stretch Properly -- Warmup well and stretch by jogging or jumping jacks and a few squats.

For more information see these related articles.

Learn More About Special Operations Forces

Learn how to pace your 1.5 mile run by breaking the run down into 1/4 and 1/2 mile interval workouts like this:

Repeat 6-8 Times

- Run 1/4 mile at goal pace (ie if your goal is to run a 10:30 1.5 mile run then your 1/4mile should be at 1:45 each lap of the quarter mile. - Rest with 100m walk - Add in squats or lunges to build endurance in legs as well as jumping skills.

Pushups: The pushup is the most commonly used exercise in military, law enforcement, and fire fighter training programs.

Learning how to ace a fitness test is required for most groups BUT being able to do multiple sets of countless pushups is usually required in most indoctrination training programs (Boot Camps, Basic Training, Military and Law Enforcement and Fire Fighting Academies). Here are some tips for the exercise that has been around for 1000's of years.

• Proper Hand Placement -- Keep hands just greater than shoulder width apart and placed lower than your shoulders as if you were doing a bench press. This will place an equal amount of force on the chest, shoulders and triceps.   

• Up / Down Movement -- Pushups in this test is a 1 minute sprint.  Building your endurance to do non-stop pushups for one minute is not as difficult as it may first appear.  To score your best, you should focus on doing pushups as fast as you can, however exert on the UP motion and relax your arms when coming DOWN. Let gravity take you down. 

The workouts used to build a foundation for your pushup scores by using super set or pyramid workouts like the ones below: 

Repeat 5-10 Times

- Pushups -- 10 - Situps -- 10-20 on pace with goal 1 minute test - Pushups Pyramid -- do 1 pushup and build up to 25 pushups and back down to 1 in as little time as possible. If you need to, “rest” by doing a timed set of situps of 15-30 Situps


This exercise requires some stomach and lower back strength as well as hip flexor / psoas strength and flexibility. For some ideas to stretch / build lower back areas check out the Lower Back Plan.

• This is a pacing exercise as with running. If your goal is 50-60 in 1 minute, you have to build up to withstand a pace of up to 1 situp per second for 60 seconds. 

• Touch elbows to knees / shoulders to floor -- This is a full repetition for the situp and the best way to master this is to exert on the UP movement and relax on DOWN and let gravity take you to the floor.  Just as with the pushup test.

• Paced Sets -- Focus on learning the pace to reach your goal. If you goal is 50 situps in 1 minute, then get 25 in 30 seconds, 12-13 in 15 seconds and develop your situp workouts with timed sets throughout your workout. 

Running Speed

300m Sprint: 

• This is 3/4 of a 400m track and is meant to be a full sprint. Some people perform this fast run as a build up to a full sprint and still perform well. Start off fast to build up your momentum for the first 10-20 m, then keep that pace for the first 100m, pick it up a notch for the seconds 100m, and then the last 100m is full speed. 

• Build VO2 max with intervals / speed work / leg stamina thru calisthenics / weights / plyometrics.

Some favorite workouts to ace this test as well as the vertical jump is to mix sprints with squat, lunges, and jumps a few times a week for 4-5 sets like this:

Repeat 4-5 Times

- 300m fast run - Squats -- 20 - Lunges -- 10/leg - Vertical jump -- 5 - Stretch legs lightly

Vertical Jump -- A two foot vertical leap is not a challenging jump, however it is one that requires practice if you do not normally jump for athletic games like basketball or volleyball. Out of all the exercises, jumping and running are the two exercises that are the most potentially injurious especially if you are sporting a few too many extra pounds. Being flexible, with healthy bodyweight, and practicing jumping is the best way to ace this event.

Swimming Tests -- A 12 minute swim is a tough event IF you are not an efficient swimmer. This is one of those tests that may require some special training from someone who knows how to swim well. Another way to learn is to watch a swim team practice freestyle / crawl stroke. Otherwise, build up your swimming endurance and speed by swimming for 12 minute intervals. See my swimming articles for more information.

Get more ideas on swimming tests in the military.

Find Available Special Operations Opportunities

More USCG Special Training Articles:

- Rescue Swimmer Standards - Helicopter Rescue Swimmers - Pass Military Swimming Tests - Swimming With Fins

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at

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