IN THE KNOW Podcast 13: Restoring America's Sealift Capability

Cape-class RRF ro/ros at their lay berths (file image)

Published Mar 17, 2020 7:12 PM by Paul Benecki

In this episode of The Maritime Executive podcast, MarEx spoke with Bryan Clark and Timothy Walton of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, who recently published an insightful report on the future of America's deep sea merchant fleet and its contributions to national security. 

In time of war, the civilian U.S. merchant marine contributes directly to national defense, providing most of the lift to bring America's military to the fight. However, last year's mobilization exercise for the U.S. government-owned sealift fleet revealed a startlingly low readiness rate. On average, the 60-plus vessels in the Ready Reserve Force and Military Sealift Command surge sealift fleets are about 44 years old - well beyond the normal lifespan of a merchant ship - and the Maritime Administration reports that their condition is deteriorating. In addition, the exercise revealed that while there are enough American mariners to meet crew requirements for an initial surge, the availability of qualified personnel for relief crews could be limited in a sustained sealift effort. 

The new CSBA report addresses these concerns and proposes a private-sector solution to strengthen the U.S. deep sea fleet, enlarge the pool of American mariners and improve the Pentagon's access to sealift capabilities. For the details, please listen in with the audio player below. 

To read the full CSBA report, please click here

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.