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Thursday, August 4, 2011


Today is President Obama's 50th birthday. It is also the Coast Guard's 221st birthday. Our chapter on bureaucracy and the administrative state explains that it has changed departmental homes several times, from Treasury to War (during wartime) to Transportation and now to Homeland Security. Its official blog notes:
On August 4, 1790, President George Washington put pen to paper and created the Revenue Cutter Service. That service of “a few armed vessels, judiciously stationed at the entrances of our ports, might at a small expense be made useful sentinels of the laws” has grown into America’s maritime first responder. For 221 years, the United States Coast Guard has protected Americans on the sea, protected America from threats delivered by sea and protected the sea itself.

As the only military service with the ability to enforce laws within our borders and the only law enforcement agency authorized to enforce them outside our borders, the Coast Guard has evolved from its early beginnings but perhaps never so much as it has over the past decade. As America prepares to recognize the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Coast Guard men and women are deployed throughout the world sharing their expertise in border protection, drug interdiction and counter-terrorism with our allies while their Shipmates stand a taut watch protecting the homeland.
Drug interdiction is one of its many duties. A story from CNN shows its role in a recent cocaine bust. The story also points out that multiple agencies took part in the operation, which included up to 1,000 personnel: