CDR Burch

Commander Kristopher Ensley is a 19-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. He currently serves as the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable, a 210-ft ship based out of Little Creek, Virginia. Dependable’s 76-person crew routinely deploys across the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea to conduct law enforcement, maritime security, and search and rescue missions.

Prior to this assignment, CDR Ensley served as the Homeporting and Patrol Boat Policy Division Chief in the Coast Guard’s Office of Cutter Forces, where he led the homeporting process for all Coast Guard cutters and drove strategic policy changes to improve operations onboard the patrol boat fleet. He also served on the 27th Commandant’s Transition Team and helped write the 2022 U.S. Coast Guard Strategy. From 2015-2018, CDR Ensley served as the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Commandant for Operations, Policy, and Capabilities; and concurrently as the Law Enforcement program analyst in the Office of Performance Management and Assessment. He additionally served ashore from 2009-2012 with the Coast Guard’s Office of Congressional Affairs, providing technical maritime security expertise and policy review for members of Congress.

CDR Ensley has served afloat on six total cutters, including as the Commanding Officer of the Cutter Paul Clark from 2018-2020. In 2019, the Paul Clark team was selected as a DHS Secretary’s Unit Award recipient, one of only two Coast Guard cutters ever so recognized. From 2012-2014, he served as the Operations Officer on the USCG Barque Eagle where he led all bridge operations and deck maintenance on the then-78 year-old sailing vessel while providing at-sea leadership and seamanship training for 1,100 future officers onboard ‘America’s Tall Ship.’ CDR Ensley additionally served the Commanding Officer of the Cutter Narwhal in Newport Beach, CA, where he led numerous port security, search and rescue, and law enforcement missions, including recovering 10,296 lbs of illegal drugs valued at more than $30 million from smuggling vessels off the coast of Mexico. He also served as the Executive Officer of the Cutter Aquidneck in the Arabian Gulf for 13 months, leading security operations in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. 

CDR Ensley graduated from the US Coast Guard Academy in 2004, and has earned Masters Degrees in Business Administration, Public Administration, and Defense and Strategic Studies. He is married to Mrs. Natalie Brand, a CBS reporter. In 2022, they took a chance and now have an amazing and energetic son, Chance Gerald Ensley.

Command Philosophy