ABOUT THE AMERICAN MARITIME PARTNERSHIP
The American Maritime Partnership (AMP) is the broadest and deepest coalition representing the domestic maritime industry. AMP’s membership includes vessel owners and operators, shipboard and shoreside workers, shipbuilders and repair yards, equipment manufacturers and vendors, dredging and marine construction contractors, maritime trade associations and national security organizations. All of these members recognize that a strong domestic maritime industry is critical for America’s economic, national, and homeland security, and is best supported by maintaining the Jones Act as the foundation of America’s domestic maritime policy.
America’s maritime policy is based on four time-tested requirements established in the best interests of the nation and its maritime workforce: any vessel transporting merchandise between two points in the United States must be U.S.-owned, U.S.-built, U.S.-flagged and U.S.-crewed.
AMERICA’S MARINERS ARE CRITICAL FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
America’s domestic fleet, underpinned by the Jones Act, is an important part of the national maritime infrastructure that helps ensure there will be ample U.S. sealift capacity to defend our nation. A strong and vibrant maritime industry helps ensure the United States maintains its expertise in shipbuilding and waterborne transportation. American ships, crews to man them, ship construction and repair yards, intermodal equipment, terminals, cargo tracking systems, and other infrastructure can be made available to the U.S. military at a moment’s notice in times of war, national emergency, or even in peacetime. In addition, during a major mobilization, American domestic vessels move defense cargoes to coastal ports for overseas shipments. During Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (2002 – 2010), U.S.-flag commercial vessels, including ships drawn from the domestic trades, transported 57% of all military cargoes moved to Afghanistan and Iraq. As important, the American domestic fleet also provided fully half of the mariners used to crew U.S. government-owned sealift vessels activated from reserve status, which carried an additional 40% of the total cargoes delivered.
SEALIFT IS CRITICAL FOR ARMY OPERATIONS
For the Army, complex logistics and transportation systems are mission-critical. The Army’s mission is “to deploy, fight and win our Nation’s wars by providing ready, prompt and sustained land dominance by Army forces across the full spectrum of conflict as part of the Joint Force.” But the Army cannot win without sustained supplies of goods and materiel, which is why sealift is essential to the Army’s ability to fulfill its mission. Today’s airlift provides fast and flexible deployment, but its capacity is limited and its costs can be high. Sealift is therefore the workhorse for the Army, providing sustainment cargoes for any enduring effort. The Navy provides important surge sealift capability to support DOD through assets maintained by its Military Sealift Command, including Ready Reserve Fleet ships maintained by the Department of Transportation’s U.S. Maritime Administration which are crewed by civilian mariners, and chartered commercial ships to meet DOD sealift requirements. The Navy relies, as it has throughout history, on commercial U.S.-flagged ships, which some call the U.S. Merchant Marine, to support DOD’s military missions around the globe. The commercial merchant marine fleet provides a vital day-to-day sea bridge for the U.S. Army overseas, carrying critical cargoes that ensure America’s warfighters have the goods and materiel to win a war anywhere.
That commercial fleet also supports a pool of commercial mariners available for Navy sealift missions, including full crewing of the Ready Reserve Fleet in times of activation. The core of the U.S.-flagged fleet supporting military operations worldwide is comprised of the Maritime Security Program fleet administered by the Maritime Administration and utilized by DOD’s U.S. Transportation Command. U.S.-flagged ships operating in domestic commerce–the so-called Jones Act fleet, which AMP represents–also support DOD through participation in the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement, and by sustaining a defense shipbuilding, maintenance and repair industrial base. The ships in the Merchant Marine are an important auxiliary of DOD, which annually ships more than one million metric tons of cargo overseas.
But it is not only the ships and logistics network provided by the Merchant Marine that are critical DOD assets. According to a Maritime Administration study, 11,678 civilian mariners are needed for military and commercial U.S.-flagged vessel operations to support defense sealift. More than half the mariners come from commercial U.S.-flagged ships. The Army has extraordinary capabilities to fulfill its missions around the world, and those capabilities are supported by crucial sealift provided by the Merchant Marine and the Navy ships, logistics networks, mariners, etc. These assets help sustain the Army so it can win wars and defend U.S. interests anywhere in the world. But even the best strategy can fall victim to poor planning and logistics. Therefore, America must maintain and enhance its sealift capabilities by protecting the Jones Act. The ability to project forces overseas to defend America’s interests depends on the ability to plan for long-range transportation on a sustained basis. Navy assets are crucial to that planning process, but so too are the assets and capabilities of the Merchant Marine. That’s the reason former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called the Merchant Marine “the fourth arm of defense.”
For more information visit: ausa.org