In our post-9/11 society, national security interests can no longer be defined solely in terms of direct military threats to America and its allies. The Coast Guard’s role in national defense and anti-terrorism is a cornerstone of homeland security efforts to protect the country from the ever-present threat of terrorism.
The Coast Guard has four major national defense missions: maritime intercept operations, deployed port operations/security and defense, peacetime engagement, and environmental defense operations. These missions are essential military tasks assigned to the Coast Guard as a component of joint and combined forces in peacetime, crisis, and war.
A Joint Maritime Military
Throughout its distinguished history, the Coast Guard has enjoyed a unique relationship with the Department of the Navy. By statute, the Coast Guard is an armed force operating in the joint arena at any time and functioning as a specialized service under the Navy in time of war or when directed by the President.
The Coast Guard also has command responsibilities for the U.S. Maritime Defense Zone, countering potential threats to America's coasts, ports, and inland waterways through numerous port-security, harbor-defense, and coastal-warfare operations and exercises.