The U.S. Coast Guard has emerged as one of the main federal agencies in the new policy of Homeland Security. Currently, the Coast Guard is on a heightened state of alert protecting more than 350 ports and 90,000 miles of coastline, the country's longest "border." Its work involves intercepting drug smugglers, protecting U.S. fisheries from poachers, and inspecting boats for safety, as well as rescue operations and weather monitoring. During a typical day, the Coast Guard saves 10 lives, helps 192 people in distress, and seizes nearly $10 million in illegal drugs. And despite the agency's name, its ships roam beyond the U.S. shoreline, going as far away as Colombia, South Africa, and the South Pacific.
From a career standpoint, the Coast Guard is a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, even though it falls under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Department. More than 38,000 active-duty Guardsmen and 8,000 reservists serve in jobs ranging from helicopter pilot or ship's captain to onshore radio operator. For information on the Coast Guard, visit the site at www.usgc.mil.
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