The Coast Guard manages six major operational mission programs:

Maritime Law EnforcementMaritime Law Enforcement: The Maritime Law Enforcement mission program protects America's maritime borders, defends the Nation's maritime sovereignty, facilitates legitimate use of the waterways, and suppresses violations of U.S. Federal law on, under, and over the seas to include illegal migration and Transnational Organized Crime.





Maritime ResponseMaritime Response: The Maritime Response mission program seeks to mitigate the consequences of marine casualties and disastrous events. The Coast Guard is the Nation’s premiere maritime first responder, minimizing loss of life and property by searching for and rescuing persons in distress. The Coast Guard is capable of rapidly mobilizing resources to provide an immediate and reliable response to maritime incidents in coordination with, and in support of, Federal, State, local, territorial, and tribal agencies, as well as private sector partners.



Maritime PreventionMaritime Prevention: The Maritime Prevention mission program seeks to prevent marine casualties and property losses, minimize security risks, and protect the marine environment. The Coast Guard does so by developing and enforcing federal regulations, conducting safety and security inspections, and analyzing port security risk assessments.





Marine Transportation System ManagementMarine Transportation System Management: The Marine Transportation System Management mission program seeks to ensure a safe, secure, and environmentally sound waterways system. The Coast Guard works in concert with other Federal, State, local, tribal and territorial agencies, the marine industry, maritime associations, and the international community to safeguard the efficient and economical movement of $5.4 trillion in overall economic activity flowing through the Nation’s ports and waterways.




Maritime Security OperationsMaritime Security Operations: The Maritime Security Operations mission program encompasses activities to detect, deter, prevent, and disrupt terrorist attacks, and other criminal acts in the U.S. maritime domain. It includes the execution of antiterrorism, response, and select recovery operations. This mission performs the operational element of the Coast Guard's Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security mission and complements our Maritime Response and Prevention efforts.




Defense OperationsDefense Operations: The Defense Operations mission program exercises the Coast Guard's unique authorities and capabilities to support the National Defense Strategy. Every day, Coast Guard is deployed around the globe in support of Combatant Commanders to protect the security of our Nation far from U.S. soil.




The operational mission programs oversee 11 Missions codified in the Homeland Security Act of 2002. That act delineates the 11 missions as “homeland security” or “non-homeland security” missions.

Operational Mission

Missions Codified in the Homeland Security Act of 2002

Homeland Security Missions

Non-Homeland Security Missions

Maritime Law Enforcement

Drug Interdiction
Migrant Interdiction
Other Law Enforcement

Living Marine Resources

Maritime Response


Search and Rescue
Marine Environmental Protection
(Response Activities)

Maritime Prevention

Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security
(Prevention Activities)

Marine Safety
Marine Environmental Protection
(Prevention Activities)

Maritime Transportation System Management


Aids to Navigation
Ice Operations

Maritime Security Operations

Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security
(Response Activities)


Defense Operations

Defense Readiness