Coast Guard's missions

The Coast Guard is a military, maritime service within the Transportation Department. As of December 2000, there were 35,852 people on active duty with the Coast Guard, 5,617 permanent civilian employees and 7,927 in the Coast Guard Reserve.

The Coast Guard's motto is "Semper Paratus," which is Latin for "Always Ready."

The Coast Guard has five fundamental roles:

* Safety: Eliminate deaths, injuries and property damage associated with maritime transportation, fishing and recreational boating.

* National defense: Counter potential threats to American's coasts, ports and inland waterways. For more than 210 years, the Coast Guard has been one of the five armed forces, and since 1995, it has had four national defense missions in support of the U.S. military commanders in chief: maritime intercept operations, deployed port operations/security and defense, peacetime engagement, and environmental defense.

* Maritime security: Protect America's maritime borders by halting the flow of illegal drugs, aliens and contraband into the United States; preventing illegal fishing; and suppressing violations of federal law in the maritime arena.

* Mobility: Facilitate maritime commerce and eliminate impediments to the efficient movement of goods and people, while maximizing recreational access to the water.

* Protection of natural resources: Eliminate environmental damage and the degradation of natural resources associated with maritime transportation, fishing and recreational boating.

Source: Coast Guard fact sheets

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