Sending Office: Honorable Joe Courtney
Sent By:
Sam.Menchel@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

Support U.S.-Flagged, U.S.-Crewed Vessels for National Security Sign the Maritime Security Program Appropriations Letter

*CLICK HERE TO SIGN ON*

Dear Colleague,

Since 1996, the Maritime Security Program (MSP) has served as a vital component of U.S. military strategic sealift and global response capability. The program is designed to ensure that the United States has access to a fleet of militarily-useful commercial
shipping vessels and trained U.S. citizen merchant mariners available in times of war or national emergencies. We request your support for full funding of this program.

Since 2009, privately-owned U.S.-flag commercial vessels and their civilian U.S. citizen crews have transported more than 90 percent of the sustainment cargo needed to support U.S. military operations and rebuilding programs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Significantly,
U.S.-flag vessels enrolled in MSP carried 99 percent of these cargoes. Without a viable U.S.-flag commercial fleet and the American merchant mariners this fleet supports, the United States would be unable to deploy its military forces.

Congress authorized the Maritime Security Program at $314 million in FY21, as part of last year’s final defense authorization that provided a long-term reauthorization for the program. This is a wise use of precious taxpayer dollars. Without access to an
on-call commercial fleet through MSP, Military Sealift Command has estimated that replicating the vessel capacity alone with a government-owned and operated fleet would cost approximately $13 billion.

Please join our bipartisan letter urging the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies to fully fund the Maritime Security Program at the FY21 requested level of $314 million.

To join this letter, please follow
THIS LINK
to fill in the signature form. Please contact Sam Menchel on Rep. Courtney’s staff at Sam.Menchel@mail.house.gov if you have any questions or encounter any issues. Thank you for your consideration of this important request.

 

Sincerely,

 

JOE COURTNEY

Chairman

House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces

 

ROB WITTMAN

Ranking Member

House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces

 

MONTH XX, 2020

The Honorable Nita Lowey, Chairwoman

Committee on Appropriations                                                           

United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC  20515

 

The Honorable Kay Granger, Ranking Member

Committee on Appropriations                                                           

United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC  20515

 

The Honorable David Price, Chairman                     

Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban         

            Development, and Related Agencies                         

Committee on Appropriations                                                           

United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC  20515

 

The Honorable Mario Diaz-Balart, Ranking Member                       

Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban         

            Development, and Related Agencies                         

Committee on Appropriations                                                           

United States House of Representatives                                

Washington, DC  20515
 

Dear Chairwoman Lowey and Chairman Price:

We are writing to request that $314,007,780 for the Maritime Security Program (MSP), as authorized by PL 116-92, the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, be included when you develop your fiscal year 2021 Transportation, Housing
and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Bill.  Additionally, MSP is a defense spending element governed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) and the only defense element appropriated in the THUD Appropriations Bill.  We
also request that a $314,007,780 defense 302(b) allocation be provided to the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee to ensure sufficient funding for MSP. 

MSP is a vital component of our military strategic sealift and global response capability.  It is designed to ensure that the United States has the U.S.-flag commercial sealift capability and trained U.S. citizen merchant mariners available in times of war
or national emergencies. MSP also ensures that the U.S. can provide our troops overseas with the supplies and equipment necessary to do their jobs on behalf of our nation. 

In testimony last March before the House Armed Services Committee’s Readiness and Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittees, General Stephen Lyons, Commander, United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), stated, “sealift is USTRANSCOM’s number one
readiness concern.”  He elaborated further on the value of MSP to DOD’s sealift needs – “The Maritime Security Program (MSP), authorized by Congress and administered by the Maritime Administration (MARAD), provides a stipend for 60 U.S.-flag ships that are
contractually committed to be available for national contingencies. These MSP participants contribute to VISA which enables USTRANSCOM assured access to shipping services using U.S.-flag ships and their global transportation networks during contingencies through
pre-approved contingency contracts.”

At the same hearing, Rear Admiral Mark Buzby, Administrator of the Maritime Administration (MARAD), highlighted the importance of the U.S. merchant marine as part of MSP and in supporting defense sealift – “Commercial mariners play an essential role, during
steady state and contingency operations, by delivering supplies and equipment to deployed forces and overseas installations around the world…The MSP facilitates employment for 2,400 U.S. merchant mariners qualified to sail on oceangoing vessels who we can
call upon to crew the RRF vessels when activated.”

Equally important, MSP is a public-private partnership between the U.S. government and the U.S.-flag shipping industry whereby the Department of Defense (DOD) is provided assured access to privately-owned commercial shipping assets, related global intermodal
systems, and the active pool of U.S citizen mariners necessary to support America’s defense objectives around the world.  This cost-effective program utilizes existing U.S. maritime private sector capabilities at a fraction of the cost of what it would take
if the Federal government were to replicate the vessel capacity and global intermodal systems made available to DOD by MSP contractors who continuously develop and maintain modern logistics systems for commercial and defense purposes.  The cost to the Federal
government of replicating just the vessel capacity is estimated at $13 billion.  The United States Transportation Command has estimated an additional cost of $52 billion to replicate the global intermodal system that is made available to the DOD by MSP participants. 
In contrast, the MSP, at the funding level authorized by Public Law 116-92, will provide DOD with U.S.-flag, U.S. crewed militarily-useful commercial vessels and worldwide logistics systems at a fraction of the estimated $65 billion it would cost the Federal
government to do this job itself. 

Since 2009, privately-owned U.S.-flag commercial vessels and their civilian U.S. citizen crews have transported more than 90 percent of the sustainment cargo needed to support U.S. military operations and rebuilding programs in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Significantly,
U.S.-flag vessels enrolled in MSP carried 99 percent of these cargoes.  Without a viable U.S.-flag commercial fleet and the American merchant mariners this fleet supports, the United States would be unable to deploy its military forces on a global basis and
to deliver the supplies and equipment American troops need to do their job on behalf of the American people.

For these reasons, we urge you to appropriate $314,007,780 for the Maritime Security Program in fiscal year 2021.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Appropriations, Armed Services, Transportation

icon eDC logo e-Dear Colleague version 2.0
 
e-Dear Colleagues are intended for internal House use only.