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Coast Guard Proceedings. Volume 71, Number 1, Spring 2014

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The Coast Guard s role in border security goes back to its very founding. While advocating for the Constitution in the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton proposed A few armed vessels, judiciously stationed at the entrances of our ports, might at small expense be made useful sentinels of the laws. 1 When he became the nation s first Secretary of Treasury, Hamilton followed up on that sentiment and created what we now know as the United States Coast Guard. As challenging as border security was in the early days of our republic, it is infinitely more complex today, and the stakes are higher. Border security activities protect our nation from sophisticated, organized groups that would damage or steal our natural resources, smuggle dangerous drugs and weapons, or engage in human trafficking. Fortunately, the Coast Guard has many allies. First among them are the mariners who work on the water and their counterparts who operate our nation s cargo and passenger facilities. Applying their keen sense of seamanship and employing their knowledge of port and waterfront activities, they maintain security systems and are alert for unusual or suspicious activity. Vessel masters and facility security officers ensure their vessels, facilities, crews, and employees comply with domestic and international security requirements. Many of these individuals also volunteer in maritime security and area committees, and in other forums that evaluate risk, prepare contingency plans, and promote our collective security. The fact that our maritime borders remain secure despite persistent threats from criminal and terrorist organizations is a testament to these individuals and is an example of prevention through people at its very best. Coast Guard men and women conduct border security operations from the waterfront to the high seas and have the privilege of working with a multitude of agencies and organizations.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Civil Defense

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