Written by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft .
Today we celebrate the 224th birthday of the United States Coast Guard. We do so at a time when the Coast Guard is in greater demand than at any time in our history. The challenges faced by our Nation, especially in our own Hemisphere, present opportunities and new demands for our Service.
This year Coast Guard forces are engaged in operations on all seven continents. Our Maritime Patrol forces continue to meet the challenges of transnational organized crime, increased illegal migration and demand for Coast Guard authorities and capabilities from the Eastern Pacific to the Middle East. Our Shore-based forces continue to stand the watch in all of our vital ports and waterways, securing global commerce, protecting lives at sea, ensuring a safe, secure and resilient Maritime Transportation System, building and sharing incident management expertise, and protecting our natural resources. Our Deployable Specialized Forces remain in demand world-wide and are present today supporting ISAF in Afghanistan, assisting with the removal of chemical weapons from Syria and providing security for joint forces in Cuba. Our Patrol Forces in Southwest Asia continue to provide maritime security for USCENTCOM.
As an integral part of the DHS team, the Coast Guard is at the forefront of combating networks, securing our borders and safeguarding commerce. Alignment with DHS will ensure unity of effort as we face persistent threats to our borders. We will invest in a 21st century Coast Guard. We have modernized our Sector Commands, maximized the capabilities of the WMSL and are well into the acquisition process for the Fast Response Cutter. We are near completion of our WMEC-270 Mission Effectiveness Project, and we are bringing 14 C-27Js into the inventory to replace aging C-130s. Our product lines, bases and depot maintenance facilities are better aligned with operations and continue to transform to support world-wide mission execution. We will position the Coast Guard to meet the obligations of tomorrow. The Offshore Patrol Cutter is vital to this effort and design and acquisition will proceed. We will also transform our financial management system to ensure future clean audits and world-class customer service. Our intelligence community will be leveraged to cue operations to ensure we put our forces where they can be most effective.
Our exceptional international reputation is a direct result of the sustained mission excellence our Coast Guard men and women achieve every day.
Happy birthday and thank you for your continued focus on Service to Nation, Duty to People and Commitment to Excellence.