This week, we commemorate the birth of the modern-day United States Coast Guard, one of our nation's five armed services. On Aug. 4, 1790, President George Washington signed the Revenue Cutter Service into law to enforce the young republic's tariff and trade laws, which called for a fleet of 10 ships and 100 officers. From those humble beginnings, the U.S. Coast Guard is now a formidable force of 244 cutters, nearly 1,800 boats, 200 aircraft and more than 42,000 men and women in uniform as well as 7,900 reservists, 32,000 members of the Coast Guard auxiliary, and 8,700 full-time civilian employees.
As we celebrate the 224th Anniversary, the U.S. Coast Guard is engaged in operations on every continent, protecting the vital interests of our nation and the American people. The brave men and women of the Coast Guard continue to defend our coastline and assist our allies all around the world. At the same time, the Coast Guard faces new challenges and is confidently adapting to evolving and emerging threats. Under the dedicated leadership of Admiral Zukunft and Vice Admiral Neffenger, I am confident that the U.S. Coast Guard is moving forward with the strength and resilience necessary to achieve our vital national security missions.