CAPT Arex B. Avanni


Chief of Staff

Eighth Coast Guard District


Captain Avanni is the Chief of Staff, Eighth Coast Guard District in New Orleans, Louisiana.  In this capacity he serves as the District Commander’s primary advisor and coordinates the engagements of the District Staff with field units, stakeholders, and higher headquarters offices to advance the District Commander’s objectives. The Eighth Coast Guard District oversees Coast Guard safety, security, and stewardship missions from the outer continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico, throughout the Gulf coast from the panhandle of Florida to our Nation’s border with Mexico, and further includes inland waterways of the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee River systems.

Captain Avanni most recently served as Commander, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu where, from 2019 to 2022, he led Coast Guard operations for the main Hawaiian Islands and all central pacific US territories.  Prior to that he has served in a broad array of assignments primarily focused on emergency response, maritime search and rescue, and homeland security missions.

His other operational tours include: Deck Watch Officer aboard the Coast Guard Cutter MORGENTHAU (1994-1996), Marine Inspector and Federal On-Scene Coordinator Representative at Marine Safety Office in Morgan City, Louisiana (1998- 2001), Chief of Sector San Francisco’s Command Center and then as its Chief of Incident Management (2004-2008), Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team (2010-2013) and Deputy Sector Commander of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu (2013-2016).

From May 2017 to May 2019 CAPT Avanni served as the Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he advised the Deputy Secretary on department-wide unity of effort initiatives, including the maturation of DHS policies and the effective employment of the DHS’s Joint Task Forces.  His other staff tours include: Company Officer at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island (1996-1998), Regional Response Team Coordinator for New England and then Port Security and Waterways Management Program Manager in Boston, Massachusetts (2001-2004), USCG Congressional Fellow on the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations where he worked on congressional budget and resource approval for the Department of Homeland Security (2008-2010).

Throughout his career, CAPT Avanni has been involved with and/or led many major national level incident responses. Most notably, he managed the Fist Coast Guard District’s Incident Management Team which coordinated all USCG port security efforts in response to the September 11th, 2001 Terrorist Attacks in New York City. He served as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator and Incident Commander for the 2007 M/V COSCO BUSAN oil spill in San Francisco Bay. He served as Operations Section Chief for the State of Louisiana and then as the Gulf Coast Deputy Incident Commander and Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill response in the Gulf of Mexico from July 2010 to December 2011.

CAPT Avanni is a 1994 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Management and holds a Master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College. In 2016, he was the US Coast Guard’s Federal Executive Fellow at The Brookings Institution, one of the world’s top ranked think tanks located in Washington, DC.

CAPT Avanni’s military awards include 6 Meritorious Service Medals, 3 Coast Guard Commendation Medals, the 9/11 medal, 3 Coast Guard Achievement Medals, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Commandant’s Letter of Commendation Ribbon and various unit awards.