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    100th Anniversary of the Espionage Act and Creation of Captain of the Port

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    WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES

    06.15.2017

    Video by Telfair Brown 

    U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters

    The Espionage Act of 1917 came about as a direct result of the country's war effort in World War I, and it has greatly increased the importance of the role of the Coast Guard in safeguarding our ports over the past 100 years.
    3. In World War I, port security became a matter of national security. At no time in prior history had the prospect of massive destruction from explosives and ammunition been so grave. This was born out by an explosion that took place on Black Tom Island, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, on July 31st, 1916. The munitions terminal on the island was a primary staging area for ordnance shipped to the war in Europe. It is believed the blast erupted from a barge loaded with ammunition and may have been caused by saboteurs. The explosion blew out windows in buildings as far away as New York City and caused $500 million (in 2017 dollars) in property damage. The disaster also focused public attention on the dangers of stockpiling, loading and shipping explosives near major population centers.
    4. In addition to focusing attention on the dangers posed to port cities, the Black Tom incident motivated Congress to enact legislation to protect port facilities from sabotage. On June 15th, 1917, Congress passed the Espionage Act, which shifted responsibility for safety and movement of vessels in U.S.
    harbors from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Treasury Department. The Espionage Act of 1917 greatly enhanced the Coast Guard's ability to carry out port security and to protect ports from sabotage and accidental detonation of explosive cargoes.
    5. In 1917, the Treasury Secretary assigned Coast Guard officers to oversee port security in the ports of New York, Philadelphia, Hampton Roads and Sault Ste. Marie. The power of these officers was most evident in the port of New York. During the war, New York embarked more weapons and war material than any other U.S. port. In the span of a year-and-a-half, New York loaded nearly
    1,700 ships with more than 345 million tons of shells, smokeless powder, dynamite, ammunition and other explosives. To ensure the harbor's safety, Captain Godfrey Carden commanded the Coast Guard's New York Division, which included nearly 1,500 officers and men, four tugs borrowed from the Navy and the Army, and five harbor cutters. In all, his division was the Service's largest wartime command. Carden became possibly the most famous Coast Guard officer of World War I and the term "captain-of-the-port" came about to describe his role as the man in charge of New York's port security.
    6. While World War I brought greater attention to the need for port security, the Act was also invoked in World War II when the nation shipped millions of tons of weapons and ammunition from U.S. ports to the front lines. It also supported Coast Guard port operations during the Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, Desert Shield and Desert Storm and more recently, in the War on Terror.
    7. Over the next seventeen months, the Coast Guard will commemorate the Service's vital role in World War I through publications, monthly stories on Coast Guard Compass, the five-part history video series "The Fighting Coast Guard" and an extensive World War I web page on the Coast Guard Historian's website located at "www.uscg.mil/history/ops/wars/WWI/WWI-Index.asp".

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    VIDEO INFO

    Date Taken: 06.15.2017
    Date Posted: 06.16.2017 09:18
    Category: Package
    Video ID: 532541
    VIRIN: 170615-G-OY189-405
    Filename: DOD_104494580
    Length: 00:02:48
    Location: WASHINGTON, DC, US 

    Web Views: 53
    Downloads: 6
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