WASHINGTON (June 24, 2016) – The Lexington Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank, released a study on Thursday stressing the critical role that the American maritime industry and the Jones Act play in strengthening U.S. border security and helping to prevent international terrorism.
The study notes that since 9/11, the Jones Act has taken on new significance for national security, with the law playing a critical role in helping to secure the homeland from the threat of international terrorism.
“Were the Jones Act not in existence, the Department of Homeland Security would be confronted by the difficult and costly requirement of monitoring, regulating, and overseeing foreign-controlled, foreign crewed vessels in coastal and internal U.S. waters.”
The study highlights the “impossible task” of guarding the U.S. against threats from foreign ships and foreign crews operating in the heartland of the U.S.
“The prospect of terrorists on the inland waterways system is a particularly daunting challenge to homeland security. Via the inland waterways, a terrorist could reach America’s heartland and many of its largest and most important urban centers. [These waterways] carry an enormous weight of the nation’s internal commerce. … Guarding every potential target along the inland waterways against terrorist attack is an impossible task.”
In addition, the study reinforces the importance of skilled American mariners to protect the U.S. marine transportation system, which encompasses 361 ports, over 3,000 facilities and more than 14,000 regulated domestic vessels.
“The requirement that all the officers and fully 75 percent of the crews of vessels engaged in cabotage be U.S. citizens goes a long way to reducing the risk that terrorists could get onboard or execute an attack on a U.S. target.”
The study also notes the continued importance of a U.S. shipbuilding, maintenance and repair industrial base to U.S. national defense.
“Today, the Jones Act remains critical to the maintenance of a U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry and associated skilled workforce to support the Navy.”
In case you missed it, view the study here or below.