The U.S. Coast Guard is one of the nation’s five armed services — the
only one residing outside the Department
of Defense — and serves as a maritime military and law enforcement force within the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
According to Title 14, U.S. Code, the
Coast Guard is responsible for enforcing
federal law on the high seas and in U.S.
waters. It administers the law and
enforces regulations that promote the
safety of life and property in the maritime
environment. It also is charged with
engaging in maritime surveillance and
interdiction, licensing mariners, monitoring shipping within the United States and
ensuring navigability of U.S. waterways.
In 2014, the Coast Guard maintained
an active-duty force of around 41,700, a
Reserve force of 7,800 and a cadre of
8,300 civilian employees. The Coast
Guard Auxiliary comprises 31,000 volunteers who support boating safety,
marine environmental protection and
The U.S. Coast Guard saw a change in
leadership as ADM Paul F. Zukunft took
over as commandant from ADM Robert
J. Papp Jr., who retired in May. Zukunft’s
priorities for the force during his four-year tenure include aligning Coast Guard
strategies with DHS priorities to advance
national interests and continue to invest
in the 21st century fleet.
The Coast Guard now is more than a
third of the way through the largest
recapitalization in its history after reaching several milestones in fiscal 2014. The
biggest came when it received full funding for the eighth and final National
Security Cutter (NSC), thus meeting its
program of record goal.
The service continued implementing
the Fast Response Cutter into the fleet
while moving along with pre-acquisition
work for the Offshore Patrol Cutter.
The Coast Guard also began receiving
the Air Force’s C-27J Spartan medium-
sized military transport aircraft over the
summer as a result of President Barack
Obama signing off on the National Defense
Authorization Act for 2014, which called
for the sea service to get 14 C-27Js.
In fiscal 2014, the service continued
working closely with U.S. Southern
Command on strategic objectives, mutual
priorities and opportunities for collabora-
tion in Latin America and the Caribbean
while also transitioning to the Middle
Response stage of cleanup efforts for the
2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The Coast Guard also used the NSC
Waesche during the annual Operation Arc-
tic Shield mission to assist in exercises de-
signed to improve readiness in the region.
The Coast Guard also was responsible
for fisheries-enforcement and safety oper-
ations that help support the U.S. domestic
fisheries’ $24 billion-per-year industry.
The Obama administration last year
requested $9.79 billion for the service for
fiscal 2015, including $1.08 billion
for acquisition, construction and im-
LT Michael Angeli, a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC- 130 Hercules pilot,
and his crew search the Bering Sea for missing crew members from the South
Korean fishing vessel 501 Oryong Dec. 5, 2014. The trawler sank Dec. 1 with
at least 60 people aboard.