The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is a military, multi-mission, maritime service. Operating within the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, the Service may fall under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy upon declaration of war or when the President directs.
As one of the five Armed Services of the United States, the Coast Guard is the only military branch within the Department of Homeland Security and is organized in two Coast Guard geographical Areas (Pacific and Atlantic), nine Coast Guard Districts, and 35 Sectors located at strategic ports throughout the country. The Headquarters of the United States Coast Guard is located on the St. Elizabeth’s campus in Washington, D.C.
The Coast Guard protects and defends more than 100,000 miles of U.S. coastline and inland waterways, and safeguards an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) encompassing 4.5 million square miles stretching from North of the Arctic Circle to South of the equator, from Puerto Rico to Guam, encompassing nine time zones – the largest EEZ in the world. The United States Coast Guard is a law enforcement and regulatory agency with broad legal authorities associated with maritime safety, maritime transportation, hazardous materials shipping, bridge administration, oil spill response, pilotage, and vessel construction and operation.