The Civics Glossary U
U.S. Coast Guard - part of the Department of Transportation. The Coast Guard enforces federal laws related to smuggling, ship safety, port security, spillage, pollution, and other marine environmental protection issues. The Coast Guard also maintains ships and other vessels, aircraft, and communications facilities for search and rescue mission. In addition, it operates the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut. It maintains a network of aids to navigation; including lighthouses, buoys, icebreakers, and radio devices.
U.S. Customs Service - established as an agency under the Department of Treasury in 1927. The Customs Service is responsible for administering and enforcing customs laws. In addition, the US Customs Service collects duties on imported goods, and counters smuggling and other illegal activities related to international trade.
U.S. Secret Service is part of the Department of the Treasury. The Secret Service is best known for its role in protecting the President and Vice President, members of their immediate families; former Presidents, their wives or widows, and their children (up to the age of 16); presidential and vice presidential candidates; and heads of state from other countries who come to visit the United States. However, the Secret Service is also responsible for enforcing laws against counterfeiting.
Unitary government - system of government in which all authority is placed in a central government. Countries with unitary governments, such as Great Britain and France, have regional and local governments which derive their power from the central government.
Unitary system - a system of government in which constitutional authority lies in the hands of the national government. In such a system, political subdivisions created by the central government take responsibility for much of the everyday administration of the government. Great Britain is an example of a country with a unitary system of government.
United Nations (U.N.) - international organization established in 1945. The U.N. supports cooperation among nations and the peaceful settlement of debates. The United States is one of the U.N.'s 183 member states.
United States Bureau of Mines - founded in 1910, part of the Department of the Interior. The Bureau of Mines conducts research and issues reports on various aspects of mining activity, including: mining techniques, mine health and safety, environmental pollution, and solid waste recycling.
United States Coast Guard - established in 1915, incorporated into the Department of Transportation in 1967. A branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, it is at service in the Department of Transportation, except in times or war or when the President directs, at which time it operates as part of the Navy. The Coast Guard is involved in search and rescue missions; maritime law enforcement; marine inspections; marine licensing; marine environmental response; port safety and security; waterways management; aids to navigation; bridge administration; ice operations; deep water port licensing; boating safety programs; reserve training and other marine safety and security activities.
United States Fish and Wildlife Service - part of the Department of the Interior. This service is responsible for protecting and fostering the growth of the United States' fish and wildlife resources. It maintains over 400 wildlife refuges, over 70 fish hatcheries, several laboratories and a national network of wildlife law enforcement agents.
United States Information Agency - independent federal agency which reports directly to the President of the United States and is, thus, part of the Executive branch of the federal government.. The USIA serves to coordinate educational, cultural and media programs which project a positive image of the United States to foreign nations.
United States Marshals Office - part of the Department of Justice. The oldest federal law enforcement agency in the United States, it creates a link between the executive and judicial branches of government. Created in 1789, it consists of marshals, appointed by the President, and their support staff of about 3,500 deputy marshals and administrative employees in all federal judicial districts. The US Marshals Service: provides support and protection for federal courts, including security for judicial facilities, judges and other trial participants; apprehends federal fugitives; operates the Federal Witness Protection Program to protect government witnesses; holds thousands of federal prisoners annually and transports them; executes court orders and arrest warrants; seizes, manages and sells property from drug traffickers and other criminals; and sends its Special Operations Group to respond to civil disturbances, terrorist incidents and other emergency crises.
United States Mint - authorized in 1792, founded in 1873, name changed from Bureau of the Mint in 1984. It is one of the agencies of the Department of the Treasury. The Mint manufactures all US coins, and maintains stocks of gold and silver. It operates the Mints in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Denver, Colorado; the Assay Office in San Francisco, California; the Gold Depository in Fort Knox, Kentucky; and the Silver Depository at West Point, New York.
United States National Central Bureau- International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) - part of the Department of Justice. The USNCB represents the United States in INTERPOL, an international association of 160 countries which promotes mutual assistance among law enforcement officials to prevent and suppress international crime.
United States Travel and Tourism Administration - established in 1981, part of the Department of Commerce. This administration supports the travel industry, in the United States and abroad, in their attempts to attract tourists and other foreign visitors to the United States for study, business, vacation, and other miscellaneous purposes.
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