Thad William Allen (born January 16, 1949) is a retired United States Coast Guard admiral who served as the 23rd Commandant of the Coast Guard. Allen is best known for his widely-praised performance directing the federal response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast region from September 2005 to January 2006. Robert J. Papp, Jr. succeeded him as Commandant on May 25, 2010, in a change of command ceremony.
Following his position as commandant, Allen continued to serve on active duty for 36 days in his role as National Incident Commander of the Unified Command for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Allen officially retired from the U.S. Coast Guard on June 30, 2010, but continues to serve as a civilian as the National Incident Commander of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He is a Senior Fellow at the RAND Corporation.
Allen was born in Tucson, Arizona, the son of retired Coast Guard Chief Damage Controlman Clyde and Mrs. Wilma Allen. His father is a World War II veteran. Allen is a 1967 graduate of Palo Verde High School in Tucson. His family moved frequently during his childhood with his father's assignments. He attended the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, where he was a standout football player, graduating in 1971. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from George Washington University and a Master's degree in Management (S.M.) from the MIT Sloan School of Management as a Sloan Fellow. He was elected a National Academy of Public Administration Fellow in 2003.