Meeting the Strategic Sealift Needs of the U.S. With a Limited Merchant Marine
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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The ships and mariners of the U.S. merchant marine have played an important role in every war that the U.S. has entered this century. However, the U.S. merchant marine has been in a protracted decline. From a high of 3500 in 1945, the number of U.S.-flag ocean-going vessels has declined to 322 in 1997. And over the last 10 years, the number of active U.S. merchant seaman positions has fallen from 28,000 to 7,600. While the U.S. government has compensated for the decline in the numbers of ships by acquiring an organic strategic sealift fleet, no coordinated effort has been made to maintain an adequate pool of merchant mariners to man the ships. Currently, U.S. Maritime Administration estimates show that a shortfall of mariners available for strategic sealift will manifest early in the 21st century. Ironically, in the face of declining merchant marine, the U.S. is more dependent than ever on strategic sealift due to a reduced overseas presence and need the to have a force-projection military. This report frames the issue of the declining pool of mariners as a crisis that threatens to undermine the nations ability to project military power in support of the National Security Strategy.
- Marine Engineering
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies