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
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
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.