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National Security


If you want a decisive combat force, it must come on a ship

Few people are exposed to the inner workings of the maritime industry, let alone its critical role in our national security. Most Americans are surprised to learn that it’s not the Navy, but U.S. civilian mariners, working onboard U.S. flagged vessels that transport cargo and military supplies – equipment, fuel and other provisions that our military needs to successfully engage our adversaries. They would be even more surprised to learn that the number of both U.S.-flagged ships engaged in international trade and our nation’s available pool of qualified mariners are dwindling. While 90% of every U.S. consumer good found in American homes comes by water, only 2% is carried by the U.S. flagged fleet, a cause for great concern to our nation’s military leaders.

The Maritime Administration is the agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation dealing with waterborne transportation. We’re tasked with ensuring the U.S. has enough U.S. Flagged commercial ships and U.S. citizen mariners to sustain our armed forces in an international conflict or crisis. We know “Cargo is King,” so we ensure that American carriers crewed by U.S. citizens have priority when transporting cargo paid for by U.S. taxpayers.  We also support these carrier’s ability to compete against the heavily-subsidized fleets of Asia and Europe in international trade by providing a reliable financial stream. In return, the U.S. receives reliable access to the global logistics and distribution networks the carriers operate in, day to day.

The Maritime Administration also maintains a fleet of large vessels that support the rapid worldwide deployment of U.S. military forces and supplies for national defense, as well as foreign and national humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. 

Together, these efforts are revitalizing U.S. maritime power and influence abroad, and sustaining a dedicated, loyal, U.S. flag fleet of modern ships and highly trained mariners. Learn more about these activities and how the Maritime Administration is meeting the nation’s transportation, security and energy challenges by clinking on the links below. 

Updated: Monday, November 26, 2018