Maritime Administrator Buzby Resigns in Protest After Capitol Riots

Official portrait courtesy MARAD

Published Jan 13, 2021 2:36 PM by The Maritime Executive

Rear Adm. Mark "Buzz" Buzby (USN, ret'd) has departed his post as the U.S. Maritime Administrator in protest over the deadly riots at the nation's seat of government last week. He joined outgoing Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who left the Trump administration on January 11. Buzby's resignation was first reported by Politico and has not yet been formally announced.

“I no longer believe that I am able to serve as a member of the administration while remaining true to the values which have been the core of my service to the people of our nation," Rear Adm. Buzby said in a brief statement. 

Douglas Burnett, an experienced admiralty lawyer who has served as MARAD's chief counsel, has taken up the role of Acting Maritime Administrator in Buzby's stead. The position is a political appointment and the incoming Biden administration will have the responsibility to appoint his successor. 

U.S. Coast Guard locks down Potomac for 12 days

Following FBI intelligence indicating serious threats of violence at next week's inauguration ceremony, the U.S. Secret Service has accelerated and amplified its security preparations in the District of Columbia. The agency is organizing the deployment of 15,000 members of the National Guard from states around the nation, along with units from federal law enforcement agencies and nearby state police forces. This unprecedented operation includes a nine-foot fence around the Capitol Building and armed National Guard members stationed around the clock in the halls of Congress - a development last seen during the Civil War.

The U.S. Coast Guard is tasked with the waterway security element of the operation, using its counterterrorism authorities under the Port and Waterways Security Act. Among many other measures, the statute allows the Coast Guard to set up of security zones to prevent or respond to acts of terrorism. Effective today, the Potomac is shut to all marine traffic on a ten-mile stretch between the Francis Scott Key Bridge and the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge. The Anacostia River is shut from its confluence with the Potomac up to the John Philip Sousa Bridge. The shutdown will extend for 12 days, ending January 25; unauthorized entry may result in a civil penalty of up to $95,000. 

Joint Chiefs remind servicemembers of constitutional duties

In a joint statement issued Tuesday, U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday joined the heads of the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Space Force in reminding all servicemembers of their oath to defend the constitution. 

"The violent riot in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021 was a direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process. We mourn the deaths of the two Capitol policemen and others connected to these unprecedented events," the Joint Chiefs wrote. "As Service Members, we must embody the values and ideals of the Nation. We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law. On January 20, 2021, in accordance with the Constitution, confirmed by the states and the courts, and certified by Congress, President-elect Biden will be inaugurated and will become our 46th Commander in Chief. To our men and women deployed and at home, safeguarding our country-stay ready, keep your eyes on the horizon, and remain focused on the mission. We honor your continued service in defense of every American."