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PORTSMOUTH -- The Coast Guard has faced many challenges since its founding in 1790, and it confronts a big one now in the 21st Century: Budget cuts.

The Coast Guard is bracing for a more than $1 billion reduction this fiscal year. That's on top of a $300 million sequester cut last year. Despite it all, the new commander of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area is upbeat.

'Nothing is going to change,' said Vice Admiral Dean Lee. 'We're just going to have to do triage. When they cut the spigot back on the budget like we did on the sequestration, we had to determine what's the most important thing we do. And it was the preservation of life and property. And the security mission. And that's not going to change on my watch.'

Lee assumed command Friday from retiring Vice Admiral Rob Parker, in a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk.

Parker shared Lee's optimism. 'We're playing the hand we're dealt,' he said. 'And we're always going to do the best we can to try to give the best service we can.'

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