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Homeland security is one of the primary concerns of the United
States Coast Guard. It functions as both military and law enforcement force.
It functions under the Department of Defense during wartime. In peacetime, it
operates under the United States Department of Homeland Security.
The US government formed the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It works for the protection
of the American homeland and the safety of the American citizens. It is a Cabinet
department of the United States federal government. This department came into
shape from a conglomeration of existing federal agencies. This conglomeration
included the United States Coast Guard too. It is the smallest of the seven
uniformed services of the United States.
The Homeland Security Act established this department on November
25, 2002. It officially began operating on January 24, 2003. The aim of forming
this department was to bring the agencies responsible for the safety of the
homeland under a single cabinet agency. However, it kept a flexible policy for
the United States Coast Guard. This agency would be under the new department
only in peacetime. It would come under the Department of Defense during wartime.
The duties and responsibilities of the United States Coast
Guard include search and rescue, marine environmental pollution control
and maintenance of inter-coastal and offshore aids to navigation (ATON). Their
five basic missions are- Maritime Safety, Maritime Security, Maritime Mobility,
National Defense and Protection of the Natural Resources. The motto of this
force is Semper Paratus, which means "Always Ready." During peacetime,
also they need to stay alert for homeland security of America.
An act of the United States Congress instituted The United States Coast Guard
in 1915. Title 14 of the United States Code provides the legal basis for this
force. It 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." It came under the Department of Homeland
Security on March 31, 2003.