A powerful opening statement from Maritime Administrator nominee Mark Buzby for today’s nomination hearing

In a few minutes, RADM Mark H. Buzby (USN Ret.) will deliver his opening statement for today’s nomination hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee.  The statement is posted on the Committee’s website here. A key excerpt:

“If I am confirmed, one of my first priorities will be to get the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy squared away. This academy is too great an asset to become tainted because of the misconduct or bad judgment of a few. We will address these issues. We will ensure that Sea Year provides the essential learning experience that it is intended to and that all midshipmen will participate in this unique hands on learning experience, safely and confidently across a wide variety of ships. We will work to ensure that the academy is fully accredited, that the education received there is worthy of a U.S. service academy, and that its graduates are fully qualified as ship’s officers to command ships, operate propulsion systems, and lead seafarers.”

Emphasis added.  The whole statement is worth reading.  If you want to watch the hearing, go to this link (scroll down).

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  1. The Merchant Marine has always been seen as support for the Military and War operations. Time to see it as an occupation that provides decent jobs and decent pay. The Military has “Moved On” building large aircraft for fast deployment and Military Sealift Command for Military Support. So normal Merchant ships, and especially passenger ships, are now seen as “Irrelevant” by our government. Time to think in terms of “Economic Warfare” against a generally hostile world and start providing for that.

    • Mr. Mullally,
      You are correct that airplanes have replaced troop ships for moving personnel to, from and within war zones. Airplanes have not, however, replaced ships for moving goods. Yes, there are airplanes that can carry a couple of artillery pieces, a tank or the like, but a ship can carry hundreds of them. The overwhelming percentage of materiel is still moved by ships. General McDew, commander of the US Transportation Command, acknowledges the need for a robust national sealift capacity. Ours continues to shrink when we need it to grow.

  2. Of great importance to me is Senator Thume’s comment that the academy must improve it’s communications in terms of external relationships.
    I take that to mean parents, alumni and the industry.
    Again, I would never advocate that these groups “control” what happens at the academy, but the reality is that they seem to have been totally ignored in terms of even having their ideas considered .
    At the very least, these groups are entitled to fair consideration of their suggestions for the academy and a respectful explanation of why those suggestions may not work. They do not deserve to be treated, as they have been, like extensions of the administration whose sole role is to ask “how high” when the administration says “jump”. Thankfully, the alumni and parents have refused to be treated as nothing but cheerleaders and ATM machines for the administration.

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