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October 01, 2010

Oil spill's national command center closes, Allen takes new job

As expected, the government's National Incident Command for the BP oil spill today is officially finished.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who oversaw the government's response to the spill, made this announcement:

"Today the National Incident Command is disestablished and I have transferred oversight of the BP oil spill response to Rear Admiral Paul Zukunft, the Unified Area Commander, in New Orleans. Response operations will continue under transition plans that have developed with our state and local partners. Unity of effort must continue to be our common goal.  Our commitment to this response and the people of the Gulf of Mexico remains and I am pleased that Rear Admiral Zukunft will continue his dedicated service. This response has been unprecedented in its scope and complexity and we cannot forget the 11 crew members that lost their lives. As I transition to a new phase of my professional life, I want to thank the thousands of individuals from all levels of government, local communities and organizations, and the private sector who worked tirelessly to contain the discharge, shut in the well, clean up the oil and mitigate the impacts of the spill. It has been my honor to have served with them."

Allen's new job will be as an analyst with RAND Corp., starting Monday. RAND, a nonpartisan research organization, said in a news release that Allen will have the title senior fellow and will focus on homeland security, ocean policy and defense policy issues.

President Barack Obama thanked Allen in this public statement:

"I am profoundly grateful to Admiral Thad Allen for his years of dedicated service to America, and particularly his outstanding leadership of the BP Oil Spill response effort. At a time when he could have enjoyed a well-deserved retirement from the United States Coast Guard, Admiral Allen stepped up to the plate and served his country when his skills and experience were urgently needed. This unprecedented response effort simply could not have succeeded without Admiral Allen at the helm, and the nation owes him a debt of gratitude. As we continue to help the people of the Gulf Coast return to their lives and livelihoods, my administration's work will continue to benefit from Admiral Allen's selfless service and dedicated leadership. I wish him well in all of his future endeavors."

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