For those not familiar with these words, this is the motto of the United States Coast Guard. It means “Always Ready.”
The Coast Guard is one of the Armed Services of the United States. Founded in 1790 by Alexander Hamilton as the Revenue Cutter Service, its original purpose was the enforcement of tariff laws. It is one of our oldest federal agencies. Its name was officially changed to the United States Coast Guard in 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson. The Coast Guard Academy was founded in 1876 and is one of the five military academies – the others include Army, Navy, Air Force, and Merchant Marine.
However, Donald Trump, who professes his love for the U.S. military and recently claimed he has proposed the biggest increase in military spending ever, is now considering cutting the budget for the U. S. Coast Guard, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as well as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to pay for his precious wall on the Mexican border. Coincidentally, or not, all three organizations fall under the management of the Department of Homeland Security.
This proposal demonstrates, once again, that Donald Trump is more than willing to jeopardize the safety of our country in order to fulfill a worthless campaign promise. The border with Mexico is 1,954 miles long, and even the most rabid supporters of the wall recognize that it is physically impossible to build an actual, physical wall along each of those miles.
By contrast, the U.S. Coast Guard protects and defends more than 100,000 miles of U.S. coastline and inland waterways. Anyone looking at a map of the U.S. can see that our coastline is far and away longer than the Mexican border. On an AVERAGE day, the Coast Guard
- seizes 874 pounds of cocaine and 214 pounds of marijuana
- interdicts 17 illegal migrants
- screens 360 merchant vessels for potential security threats prior to arrival in U.S. ports
- facilitates movement of $8.7B worth of goods and commodities through the Nation’s Maritime Transportation System
And Trump wants to CUT their budget. To pay for the wall that he promised his voters that Mexico would pay for. This is simply head-banging-on-the-table stupid.
The Coast Guard, along with FEMA and the TSA, provide vital security to the United States. They are not there just to rescue stranded boaters on disabled yachts, although they are willing to risk their lives to rescue people from dangerous situations at sea. Anyone who has watched the TV programs like Bering Sea Gold has witnessed these rescues. On a personal note, my brother-in-law was one of the men hanging out of an open door guiding the rescue diver and directing the pilot on Coast Guard helicopters in Alaska.
One can only hope that General Kelly, the Secretary of Homeland Security, will push back against these proposed changes that make as much sense as locking your bedroom door while leaving the front door wide open.
And let us hope that the United States Coast Guard, as it has for the last 226 years, will always be ready to defend our country.