Wednesday, September 25, 2013





American Admiralty Books Safety & Privacy Policies   EU VISITORS WARNING POSSIBLE COOKIES AHEAD

Editor's Note 2/28/2016 Sealift remains a congressional and White
House non priority as it was in November of last year.

Editor's Note 10/30/ 2018 Still no chaange despite the change in Administrations and 
Congressional balance. 
File:USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR 300) at anchorage in Souda harbor.jpg

Information courtesy MM&P's WHEEL HOUSE

One of the most critical issues facing America’'s ability to provide assured 
support to our troops overseas is the looming funding shortfall for the Maritime 
Security Program (MSP) in Fiscal Year 2014 due to a $12 million carry-over 
funding anomaly. Unless the $12 million anomaly is fixed and MSP is fully 
funded, U.S.-flag ships will be forced out of MSP, which will weaken our 
nation'’s commercial sea lift capability, send American maritime jobs overseas and 
cost the taxpayer significantly more because the federal government will have to 
step in to support American troops by providing commercial sealift capability 

MSP, which is congressionally authorized at $186 million per year, provides the 
Defense Department (DOD) with access to commercial assets--U.S.-flag vessels, 
U.S. mariners and global logistics networks--to support U.S. government sealift 
requirements. During the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the vessels enrolled in MSP 
carried 95 percent of DOD waterborne cargoes transported to the region. MSP 
participant carriers continue to provide essential direct support to American 
troops engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Working with the 
U.S. Transportation Command within the Department of Defense, the MSP carriers 
have developed and implemented ocean and intermodal solutions via the Pakistan 
Ground Lines of Communication, the Northern Distribution Network and sea-air 
multimodal combination logistics. 

Without assured access to the vessels, crews and related intermodal assets that 
MSP provides, DOD would have had significant difficulty moving goods and 
supplies to our troops and would have incurred substantially more cost. The 
ability to access these commercial assets saves DOD a significant amount of 
money each year. If the U.S. government were to try to replicate this program 
through procuring and building such assets itself, it would cost $65 billion, 
plus an additional $9 billion annually in operating and maintenance costs. In 
other words, without access to the U.S.-flag vessels, American mariners and 
intermodal and logistics networks provided by the commercial maritime industry, 
DOD would have to acquire, operate, and maintain U.S. government assets and 
intermodal systems at a significantly higher cost to the American taxpayer.

To prevent this loss in commercial sealift capability, the FY’14 carry-over 
funding anomaly must be addressed. When Congress adopted its last Continuing 
Resolution, there was a $12 million surplus in the MSP account that gave 
Congress the opportunity to appropriate $174 million for FY’13 rather than the 
authorized $186 million, which artificially set the funding baseline at $174 
million rather than $186 million. With the $12 million in funds carried-over 
into FY’13 plus the newly appropriated $174 million, Congress reaffirmed its 
support for a fully funded MSP. 

There are not, however, any surplus funds remaining in the MSP account to be 
carried over and the funding baseline in the context of a continuing resolution 
for FY’14 is set too low to achieve the full funding as called for by the 
President and as intended by Congress. Consequently, to ensure that the 
Department of Defense continues to have the U.S.-flag sea lift capability it 
needs, Congress should correct this $12 million carry-over funding anomaly and 
appropriate the full Congressionally authorized amount of $186 million for 
FY’14. If it does not, and Congress fails to include the full $186 million for 
the MSP but simply appropriates the same $174 million as in FY’13, the Maritime 
Administration has indicated that an initial four U.S.-flag MSP vessels will be 
removed from the program, sending American jobs overseas and reducing the 
sealift capability available to the Department of Defense.

This potential funding shortfall is already raising readiness capability 
concerns within DOD. Commenting specifically on the potential FY’14 funding 
shortfall for the Maritime Security Program and the resultant loss of U.S.-flag 
vessels and American mariners, the current commander of the U.S. Transportation 
Command (USTRANSCOM), Gen. William Fraser, stated in a communication to members 
of the House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee that “USTRANSCOM relies 
heavily on the significant capabilities the U.S.-flag commercial sealift 
industry contributes to our nation.”

Fraser warned that the loss of vessels in MSP coupled with “the loss of mariner 
jobs, access to the related intermodal logistics networks these companies 
provide and potential loss of competition in certain trade routes may degrade 
our current support to forces deployed overseas and likely increase 
transportation costs to the government.”

In the interests of our nation’s economic and military security, and to prevent 
the loss of militarily useful U.S.-flag commercial vessels and the outsourcing 
of American maritime jobs, we ask Congress to address this carry-over funding 
anomaly and to approve full funding for MSP at its congressionally authorized 
level of $186 million for FY ‘14. 

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