"The security of our maritime borders is an essential component of the National Drug Control Strategy, and I can assure you the Coast Guard has the will to defeat drug smugglers at sea.”
-Rear Admiral Ernest R. Riutta, U.S. Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for Operations, 1998
Many threats and challenges lurk at America's maritime borders; foremost in the public eye are illegal narcotics. Effective control of those seaward borders, territorial seas, and the exclusive economic zone is fundamental to our national security strategy and crucial to thwarting narcotics trafficking. The U.S. Coast Guard is the lead agency for maritime interdiction; in that role, it shields America's sea frontiers from a multitude of threats.