Captain Timothy J. Barelli

Sector Commander
U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego


Captain Timothy J. Barelli assumed command of Coast Guard Sector San Diego in June 2019. As Sector Commander and Captain of the Port of San Diego, California, he is the senior Coast Guard Officer in the Southwest region of the United States. He is responsible for leading maritime operations to ensure the safety, security, law enforcement, and environmental protection from the U.S. – Mexico Maritime Border northward to Dana Point, CA, and east to the Colorado River, and inland navigable lakes of Arizona and southern areas of Utah and Nevada.

Previously, he served as the Deputy Director of Emerging Policy at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C. In this role, he was responsible for developing service-wide strategy and advising the Commandant and senior leaders on major issues. Of particular note, he crafted the Coast Guard’s Strategic Plan for 2018-2022 and the Maritime Commerce Strategic Outlook—the Service’s 10-year strategy to promote $4.6 trillion in annual maritime commerce and protect and modernize the nation’s critical maritime infrastructure.

A Coast Guard Helicopter Instructor Pilot, Aircraft Commander, and Aeronautical Engineer, Captain Barelli has commanded thousands of homeland security, military, and humanitarian missions, to include responding to three historic hurricanes and hundreds of search and rescue cases where he is credited with saving 182 lives. Operational assignments include Executive Officer at Air Station San Francisco, CA, Aeronautical Engineer Officer at Air Station Houston, TX, Air Station Savannah, GA, and Coast Guard Cutter RESOLUTE homeported in St. Petersburg, FL.

From 2010 – 2013, he served as the Coast Guard Fellow on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, chaired by Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV (WV). In this capacity, he advised Senators and senior Senate staff on the Coast Guard, oceans, and maritime-related issues in support of negotiations for the 2010 and 2012 Coast Guard authorization bills, Senate floor debates, numerous Congressional hearings and Executive Sessions, and the confirmation process for the Coast Guard’s 24th Commandant.

Captain Barelli attended The National War College for an intense one-year course of study on national security strategy, foreign policy, and international relations with added focus on Southeast Asia, to include authoring and defending a U.S. strategy for Indonesia.

Captain Barelli is a 1996 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a graduate of the U.S. Navy Flight School where he earned his naval aviator “wings of gold.” He holds master’s degrees from The National War College, Colorado School of Mines, and the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. In 2018, Captain Barelli was selected for the DHS Executive Leaders Program at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security, a program to develop policies to defeat terrorism.

Captain Barelli hails from Scottsdale, Arizona and he is married to the former Allison Cherry of Washington, North Carolina. They are blessed with three young daughters.