The United States Coast Guard (USCG) guards the public, the environment, and the economic and security interests of the US. One of the country's five armed services, the USCG is uniquely empowered to enforce military and humanitarian policies and civilian law in maritime regions. It operates in international waters, US coastal waters, ports, and inland waterways. Its primary roles consist of promoting maritime safety, supporting national defense, providing maritime security, protecting natural resources, and facilitating maritime transport and commerce. The USCG is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Its motto is Semper Paratus (Always Ready).
The USCG in 2011 had about 43,000 men and women on active duty and roughly 7,800 reservists and 8,300 civilian employees. It also had 33,000 volunteers. It responded to more than 20,000 search and rescue cases and saved more than 3,800 lives during the course of 2011.