The U.S. Coast Guard is one of the five branches of the U.S. armed forces, and although considered part of the military at all times, it is the only branch outside the control of the Department of Defense. In years past, it was part of the Department of the Treasury, and later the Department of Transportation; it is now operated under the Department of Homeland Security. In the event that Congress declares war, control is transferred to the Department of Defense. This service to two masters reflects the dual purpose of the Coast Guard, which is empowered with law enforcement duties and jurisdiction over the American citizenry that are forbidden to the other branches by the Posse Comitatus Act passed during Reconstruction. These maritime law ...

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