Coast Guard’s Logical Home Port
If it were fully merged into the Homeland Security Department, the Coast Guard likely would have to shed some of its duties and become part of the Border and Transportation Security Directorate. The directorate secures U.S. borders and transportation systems and enforces immigration laws. It comprises the Customs Service, the Federal Protective Service, the Transportation Security Administration, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and selected organizations from the Agriculture Department.
The directorate has three major divisions-the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, and TSA, another recently created example of a functional agency. TSA is responsible for securing civil aviation and all other modes of transportation. Thus, it is the lead security agency for airports, ports, railroads, highways and public transit systems. The incorporation of TSA into the Homeland Security Department allows its former Cabinet home, the Transportation Department, to remain focused on its core function. Transportation's mission is to ensure that the United States has a robust and efficient transportation infrastructure that keeps pace with modern technology and the nation's demographic and economic growth.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau, with its 14,000 people, focuses on a constabulary function-criminal investigations and the enforcement of immigration and customs laws in the United States, the protection of specified federal buildings, and air and marine enforcement. At bureau headquarters in Washington, components from the former INS, Customs Service, and Federal Protective Service have merged to form five functional divisions: Investigations, Detention and Removal, Intelligence, Air and Marine Operations, and Federal Protective Service.
The Customs and Border Protection Bureau is now the de facto border agency of the United States. It includes some 35,000 federal employees merged from components of Agriculture, INS, Border Patrol and Customs. Its job is to secure our borders and ports of entry and keep out terrorists and their weapons; apprehend people entering illegally; stem the flow of drugs and other contraband; protect our agricultural and economic interests from harmful pests and diseases; protect American businesses from theft of their intellectual property; and regulate and facilitate international trade, collect import duties, and enforce U.S. trade laws.
NEXT STORY: Moving the Military