COAST GUARD TACTICAL LAW ENFORCEMENT BADGE

In 2017, the United States Coast Guard will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the establishment of its Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) program. Originally organized into Groups and Districts, LEDETs mainly served as law-enforcement specialists who trained local authorities in tactics to stem the flow of illegal drugs into the country. But in 1986, the service’s drug-interdiction mission became more closely linked with the Department of Defense when billets were established aboard U.S. Navy surface ships for active-duty Coast Guardsmen to carry out their enforcement of drug-smuggling laws.

The relationship between the DoD and the Coast Guard in the War on Drugs was cemented with the passage of the 1989 National Defense Authorization Act, which named the USCG as the lead agency for high-seas drug interdiction, while the DoD was tasked with monitoring and detecting both maritime and aerial importing of illegal drugs.

The 1990s saw the consolidation of the Coast Guard’s LEDETs into four Tactical Law Enforcement Teams, or TACLETS: TACLET Gulf (New Orleans), TACLET North (Chesapeake, Virginia) TACLET South (Florida), and PACTACLET (San Diego). The need for larger team sizes led to the decommissioning of TACLET Gulf in 2000, with its members being assigned to the remaining three TACLET.

Four years later, the exigencies of the Global War on Terror led to the merger of TACLET North and Maritime Safety and Security Team Chesapeake to create what was designated the Enhanced Maritime Safety and Security Team (EMSST). The unit’s name was changed in 2006 when it was commissioned as the Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT), focusing exclusively on counterterrorism and first-responder activities. Currently, LEDETs are organized into PACTACLET and TACLET South. In Fiscal Year 2016, the Coast Guard seized more than 416,000 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $5.6 billion.

Coast Guard personnel assigned to a TACLET, MSST, or MSRT undergo the Basic Tactical Operations Course, and eight-week training program that serves as an introduction to high-risk maritime interdiction operations and qualifies candidates to perform as a member of an assault team (Deployable Specialized Force). Graduates will then head to the Maritime Law Enforcement Agency for the Boarding Officer Course, where they will be taught the intricacies of treaties, regulations, and laws, both national and international. Specialized training continues after BOC graduates are assigned to LEDET.

Complete qualification requirements for the Tactical Law Enforcement Badge are found in COMDTINST M3510.8, which the Coast Guard has not posted online.
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