The Fifth Side of the Pentagon: Moving the Coast Guard to the Department of Defense
MARINE CORPS WAR COLL QUANTICO VA
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Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the United States Coast Guard, the smallest of Americas armed forces, was given massive new homeland protection responsibilities. Unfortunately, the service struggles to fulfill these duties due to aged equipment, insufficient personnel strength, and inadequate funding. This paper analyses the Coast Guards place in government and proposes moving the service to the Department of Defense DoD. A close examination of the growing Coast Guard mission set shows how the service has gained major new responsibilities in recent years without a corresponding increase in resources. A review of relations between the Coast Guard, the executive branch, and the Congress sheds light on the systemic problems that hamper the Coast Guards ability to field the forces needed to carry out its mandated missions. Next, the most commonly heard arguments against shifting the service to DoD are evaluated and countered. The paper then highlights the important efficiencies that a move of the Coast Guard to DoD would make to national defense, homeland security, and the services own operational capabilities.
- Administration and Management
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Civil Defense