United States Coast Guard

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United States Coast Guard (USCG)is an organization based in Washington, District of Columbia.The USCG operates under the Department of Homeland Security and is one of five armed forces. The USCG ensures maritime safety and environments throughout the United States and in accordance with international agreements. More than 42,000 men and women serve civil and military responsibilities.

“The legal basis for the Coast Guard is Title 14 of the United States Code, which states: "The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times. Upon the declaration of war or when the President directs, the Coast Guard operates under the authority of the Department of the Navy. As members of a military service, Guardians on active duty and in the Reserve are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and receive the same pay and allowances as members of the same pay grades in the other four armed services.”

Their motto is Semper Paratus, meaning "Always Ready." This carries out preparedness for natural disasters, terrorism threats, natural resource protection, and security. USCG serves the United States with eleven missions. They are the following:

  • Ports, waterways, and coastal security
  • Drug interdiction
  • Aids to navigation
  • Search and rescue
  • Living marine resources
  • Marine safety
  • Defense readiness
  • Migrant interdiction
  • Marine Environmental Protection
  • Ice operations
  • Other law enforcement


Maritime Safety: The following five attributes ensure citizen safety and protect natural resource property.

  1. The USCG is a part of the Members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This organization “measures to improve shipping safety, pollution prevention, mariner training, and certification standards. We develop and enforce vessel construction standards as well as domestic shipping and navigation regulations. To ensure compliance, we review and approve plans for ship construction, repair, and alteration. We inspect vessels, mobile offshore drilling units, and marine facilities for safety.”
  2. Port State Control Program: This program is “aimed at eliminating substandard vessels from U.S. ports and waterways…since the majority of the passenger and cargo ships operating in U.S. waters are foreign flagged.”
  3. The Recreational Boating Safety Coordinator works with the Coast Guard Auxiliary “to minimize loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and environmental harm associated with this activity.” This volunteer program “involves public education programs, regulation of boat design and construction, approval of boating safety equipment, and vessel safety checks for compliance with federal and state safety requirements.”
  4. USCG coordinates with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) board to “determine whether applicable laws have been violated, or whether changes should be made to improve safety through our prevention programs.”
  5. USCG maintains the U.S. Marine Transportation System (MTS) safety with routine inspections. “This not only reduces the risk of vessel collisions, but also provides maritime domain awareness.”

Maritime Security: to ensure citizen and national security is not compromised, USCG conducts the following duties:

  • Migrant Interdiction operations
  • Maritime interception and interdiction
  • Military environmental response
  • Port operations, security, and defense
  • Theater security cooperation
  • Coastal sea control
  • Rotary wing air intercept
  • Combating Terrorism
  • Maritime Operational Threat Response support

Maritime Stewardship:

USCG coordinates with other federal and state agencies to carry out natural resource management with appropriate law enforcement. Fish, plant and marine animal health is a top priority. Under the National Contingency Plan, the USCG is a first responder to any “hazardous substance” spill occurrences along coastal and some inland areas. The “Polar icebreakers” conducts research and has established US presence in Arctic and Antarctic regions.


There are five Aviation Programs, eight Surface Programs, and six C4ISR Programs. Amongst these programs, there are two programs to be highlighted. They are:

  • The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program: The Office of International Acquisition oversees FMS. Their mission is to “acquire and deliver” USCG goods to approved foreign buyers from the Department of Defense. This builds international relationships and trust, and produces revenue.
  • The Acquisition Logistics program: The “Acquisition Directorate” oversees acquisition programs to ensure the agency’s mission and goals are carried out. This “ bridges the gap between acquisition and long-term maintenance.” This aids in identifying best practices and lessons learned. “The Acquisition Logistics program provides coordination and policy guidance for the integrated logistics support plans developed to support and sustain the Coast Guard’s new major systems acquisitions. In collaboration with other Coast Guard headquarters directorates, the program fosters partnerships that help ensure that the logistics plans for new assets are sufficient and they comply with Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security policy guidance.”


  1.  "USCG Website"

United States Coast Guard