The U.S. Coast Guard in recent years has fought international terrorism, defended Iraqi pipelines and patrolled for pirates in the Arabian Sea. Its work in such high-visibility missions accelerated after Sept. 11, 2001, when Congress swept the Coast Guard into the Homeland Security Department. More funding followed. But, the Washington Post reports, the changes had the unintended consequence of lowering the profile of the Coast Guard’s vital programs related to oil. “Priorities changed,” a 2002 Coast Guard budget report said. Internal and congressional studies highlighted the difficulty the agency faces in balancing its many added responsibilities.
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