CAPT Mark Shepard 

Commander, National Strike Force
United States Coast Guard

















Captain Mark J. Shepard

Commander, National Strike Force (NSF)

Commanding Officer, National Strike Force Coordination Center (NSFCC)

U.S. Coast Guard


A native of Fayetteville, New York, Captain Mark J. Shepard graduated from the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation, a Coast Guard Third Mate License, and a Merchant Mariner’s Document. Before entering the Coast Guard, he sailed as a Member of the U.S. Merchant Marine on a Great Lakes iron ore carrier, and oceangoing tugs and barges. Captain Shepard attended Officer Candidate School in Yorktown, Virginia where he commissioned as an Ensign in May 1996. In 2013, he attended the U.S. Naval War College’s - College of Naval Warfare in Newport, Rhode Island where he graduated with a Masters of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. In the fall of 2013, a national selection panel awarded him certifications as an Incident Command System (ICS) Type 1 Incident Commander and Type 1 Operations Section Chief.


As Commander, National Strike Force and Commanding Officer, National Strike Force Coordination Center, Captain Shepard leads a Deployable Specialized Force of highly trained professionals with specialized equipment and incident management skills who can rapidly deploy to assist Federal On-Scene Coordinators and Lead Agency Incident Commanders in preparing for and minimizing adverse impacts from all hazard incidents and events.


Captain Shepard has cultivated a unique career focused on preventing and responding to natural and manmade disasters. From April 2016 – June 2017 he was assigned as the Commanding Officer (CO) of Coast Guard Incident Management Assist Team (CG-IMAT) where he was responsible for leading a 34 member Deployable Specialized Force in supporting Coast Guard operational commanders with their incident management needs worldwide. Located in Norfolk, Virginia, CG-IMAT serves two Coast Guard Areas, nine Districts, and 37 Sectors. Immediately preceding his CO assignment, he served as the first Operations Officer at the CG-IMAT from its standup in August 2013 until April 2016. During his tenure at CG-IMAT, the team responded to numerous incidents including Unaccompanied Minors Influx, EBOLA Crisis, Mount Carbon Train Derailment, Cybersecurity Crisis, Caribbean Fantasy Fire, Hurricane Matthew.


From 2009-2012, he served as the Executive Officer (XO) of the Gulf Strike Team in Mobile, Alabama, where he led a Deployable Specialized Force in supporting Coast Guard and EPA On-Scene Coordinators. In this capacity, he responded to the helicopter CG-6535 crash in Mobile Bay;  responded to the BP oil spill in Houma, Houston, Mobile and New Orleans, and deployed to Port Au Prince, Haiti where he assisted the Government of Haiti recover from the devastating 2010 Earthquake. From 2000 – 2005, Captain Shepard served as Chief of Enforcement Division, Chief of Inspections, and Chief of Port Operations at Group/Marine Safety Office and Sector Long Island Sound. There, in the aftermath of9-11, he fused intelligence, law enforcement, and regulatory tactics into a robust maritime security program for Connecticut and Long Island, New York that included a national model for waterside security at Nuclear Power Plants. As a Marine Inspector at Marine Safety Office Port Arthur from 1996-2000, he earned seven inspector qualifications, and responded to numerous fires, explosions, oil spills, hazardous material releases, and maritime worker deaths.


Captain Shepard’s staff assignments include Prevention Assignment Officer at Coast Guard Personnel Service Center from 2007-2009 and Port Security Project Manager in the Domestic Port Security Assessment Division at Coast Guard Headquarters from 2005 to 2007. In this position, he conducted nuclear power plant security assessments, and helped develop and implement the Maritime Security Risk Analysis Model (MSRAM).


Captain Shepard’s personal military decorations include three Meritorious Service Medals, six Coast Guard Commendation Medals with “O” device, the Coast Guard 9-11 Medal, two Coast Guard Achievement Medals with “O” device, and the Commandant’s Letter of Commendation. He is married to his high school sweetheart, the former Sandy Joy, and together they have one daughter, Siera Shepard.





Last Modified: 9/25/2017