Sending Office: Honorable Joseph Crowley
Sent By:

        Request for Signature(s)

Support the Maritime Industry and Future Mariners! Fully fund the State Maritime Academies


Current signatories: Crowley, Bergman, Babin, Barragán, Cummings, Davis (CA), DeSaulnier, Engel, Farenthold, Frankel, Gene
Green, Hastings, Jeffries, Katko, Keating, Kennedy, King (NY), Langevin, LoBiondo, Lowenthal, Lynch, Matsui, McGovern, Moulton, Nadler, Payne, Peters, Pingree, Shea-Porter, Suozzi, Thompson (CA), Tonko, Tsongas, Velázquez, Young (AK), Zeldin

Dear Colleague,

The maritime industry is an essential part of our nation’s economy and plays a critical role in national security. Each year, the industry generates over $100 billion, employs 1.5 million Americans and pays tens of billions in wages and benefits. Yet, often
overlooked is how much our national security depends on civilian mariners, who provide logistical support for our operational and deployed forces. The United States has long maintained a strong maritime industry because of concerted investments in the sector,
including in the nation’s six State Maritime Academies (SMAs) and the ships they use for training.

We were thankful to have such strong participation in our efforts last year urging the administration and Appropriations Committee to provide a clear program to replace the SMAs’ quickly aging multi-mission training vessels – some of which are over 50 years
old. Without these vessels, the SMAs will not have sufficient means to train future generations of maritime workers, including 70 percent of the nation’s new United States Coast Guard licensed officers each year. This would harm thousands of students from
all 50 states who receive training at the academies, and would hurt our economy by depriving one of our fastest-growing industries of the skilled workers it needs.

Congress has provided design funding for what is known as the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) program over the past two years, and the
National Defense Authorization Act has authorized construction for the past two years. But in order to carry out this important project, we must make sure the program is fully funded. Should these vessels need to be taken offline before the first NSMV
is completed, it would result in a crushing disruption to our nation’s ability to train new mariners and provide military sealift capacity.

We hope you will join us in asking the Appropriations Committee to fully fund the State Maritime Academies and their National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV) program in FY2019. To sign on, please contact Todd Sloves in Rep. Crowley’s office at or 5-3965 or Gabe Hisem in Rep. Bergman’s office at or 5-4735.


JOSEPH CROWLEY                                                                         JACK BERGMAN

Member of Congress                                                                          Member of Congress


March 19, 2018


The Honorable Mario Diaz-Balart                                 The Honorable David Price

Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member

Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee                 Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee

U.S. House of Representatives                                      U.S. House of Representatives

2358-A Rayburn HOB                                                  2358-A Rayburn HOB

Washington, DC  20515                                                Washington, DC  20515

Dear Chairman Diaz-Balart and Ranking Member Price,

We thank you for your past support for the State Maritime Academies (SMAs) and urge you to move forward with full funding for the final design and contracting for America’s National Security Multi-mission Vessels (NSMVs) to replace the current fleet of aging
vessels used to train U.S. mariners. Not only will NSMVs be used by the nation’s six State Maritime Academies (SMAs) to train new mariners, they will also be purpose-built for disaster assistance and humanitarian aid during times of national need. With the
existing vessels nearing the end of their useful life, it is imperative that the Maritime Administration have the resources it needs to replace them expeditiously. Over the past two years, Congress provided NSMV design funding and the
National Defense Authorization Act has included language authorizing construction. We therefore ask that you include a fully-funded NSMV program in your Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill and ensure adequate funding for maintaining the existing fleet
pending construction.

The maritime industry is an essential part of our nation’s economy and plays a critical role in national security. Each year, the industry creates over $100 billion in output, employing 1.5 million Americans and paying tens of billions in wages and benefits.
Yet, often overlooked is how much our national security depends on civilian mariners, who provide logistical support for our operational and deployed forces. Years ago, the Department of Defense adopted a policy of relying heavily on commercial ships and civilian
crews for military sealift to war zones around the world. The use of commercial vessels and mariners to move military cargo saves the U.S. government billions of dollars each year while providing a steady stream of good-paying jobs.

However, these benefits to our national security and economy will be at risk if the training ships are not replaced. The six State Maritime Academies produce over 70 percent of U.S. licensed Coast Guard officers each year and an even larger proportion of
U.S. civilian mariners. The NSMVs will be an essential part of the SMA curriculum, as cadets must receive 360 days of sea time for graduation and licensure. But the capacity for adequate training is in jeopardy. The Texas A&M Maritime Academy training ship,
the TS General Rudder, is inadequate for its mission, which has resulted in the only maritime academy in the Gulf of Mexico having to send cadets to other academies for training. Furthermore, as of this September, the nation’s two largest training
vessels will come critically close to the end of their useful life – the TS Empire State VI will have been in service for 57 years, and the
TS Kennedy, launched in 1967, is not far behind. Losing either of these ships will have a devastating impact on the mariner pipeline at a time when we are already unable to meet the projected need for mariners. Failure to address this problem will
inevitably result in a weakened U.S. economy and will significantly diminish our military sealift capacity.

According to a report on our future transportation workforce released in August 2015 by the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, and Transportation, there will be a need for approximately 40,000 new U.S. Coast Guard credentialed captains, mates, pilots,
and ship engineers between 2012 and 2022. That is a challenging target under the best of circumstances, not to mention when at-sea training is critically compromised. Recently, Gen. Darren W. McDew, Commander U.S. Transportation Command, who oversees military
sealift, spoke to the critical role that commercial mariners play in national security and expressed his concern regarding the availability of mariners to meet critical needs. Gen. McDew said that the nation’s ability to project a force with sealift in a manner
similar to Desert Storm 25 years ago is no longer guaranteed due to a dwindling pool of American mariners. McDew said, “If the U.S. mariner base gets too small, we will have to rely on other countries to deploy our combat power.” That possibility, he said,
is only more worrisome as, “the global security environment is only getting more contested.”

Our country is facing an urgent need to address the recapitalization of our training ships. Doing so would not only bolster our economy, but it would also strengthen our military readiness and shore up our resilience and responsiveness during natural disasters.
We therefore urge you to support investment in our mariners, our economy and our national security by fully funding the National Security Multi-mission Vessel program in FY2019. We look forward to working with you in order to sustain the mission of our State
Maritime Academies. 


Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Appropriations, Armed Services, Budget, Education, Homeland Security, Transportation

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