Fred S. Bertsch

Military Professor & Senior Service Advisor Joint Military Operations Department
Capt., U.S. Coast Guard
Fred Bertsch faculty photo


Capt. Bertsch currently serves as the U.S. Coast Guard senior adviser and a military professor in joint military operations at the Naval War College. Capt. Bertsch, a permanent Cutterman with over 11 years of afloat experience, most recently commanded the USCGC Vigilant (WMEC-617). Capt. Bertsch's staff tours include service on the Joint Staff and as an executive assistant for the Assistant Commandant for Capability. A U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate, he earned a master’s degree from Purdue University, a master’s degree and JPME 1 from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a doctorate from Northcentral University. He also completed a fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University.

Areas of Expertise

  • Counterdrug Operations
  • Homeland Security
  • Search and Rescue
  • Terrorism

Professional Highlights


USCG Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University

Served as the first US Coast Guard Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University's Institute for Politics and Strategy studying topics and issues related to national security ranging from artificial intelligence to terrorism.

Commanding Officer, USCGC Vigilant (WMEC-617)

Served as the Commanding Officer of the medium endurance cutter homeported in Cape Canaveral, FL for two years. Led the officers and crew through six multi-mission patrols interdicting over 14,000 kgs of contraband, conducting joint training and exercises, and assisting over 20 people in distress.

Executive Assistant to Asst. COMDT for Capability

Served as EA for Asst. COMDT for Capability (CG-7) at USCG HQ, managing office and staff to support the development of requirements, policy, guidance, and doctrine for the effective use of capabilities.

Military Analyst for Western Hemisphere Joint Staff (J-5 WHEM)

Served as a USCG Liaison to the Joint Staff, Western Hemisphere Office (J-5 WHEM), providing analysis and coordination for Counter Narcotics and Alien Migration Interdiction Operations strategy, doctrine, and efforts.

Commanding Officer, USCGC Aquidneck

Served as the Commanding Officer of the patrol boat USCGC Aquidneck in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom while forward deployed to Bahrain and the gulf; conducted joint operations and platform defense as well as training of the Iraqi Navy.


Ph.D., North Central University, 2017, Homeland Security and Leadership

M.A. & JPME 1, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, 2013, Military Studies

M.S., Purdue University, 2006, Industrial Engineering

B.S., U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 2001, Operational Research and Computer Science

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