MARAD commissioned an independent assessment to provide a “high level review of its programs and offer recommendations for improving the alignment of activities and authorities to enhance performance and meet key mission objectives in the 21st century.” That report was just released and is available here. It is 151 pages long and I have not had time yet to review it. But, there are a number of important recommendations relating to the Academy. All stakeholders would be well-advised to review this document.
Just grabbing some of the recommendations from the introductory section of the report:
- RECOMMENDATION 3-5. The Maritime Administration should agree on the long-term mission focus of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The Maritime Administration’s leaders should determine whether the institution has essentially a function that results in U.S. Coast Guard credentialing, or if it should have a broader scope that accommodates other subjects.
- RECOMMENDATION 3-6. The Maritime Administration must ensure that all stakeholders, to the extent permitted by law, are pro-actively and promptly informed of important developments at U.S. Merchant Marine Academy going forward in order to help rebuild trust among all stakeholders. The Maritime Administration should err on the side of transparency.
- RECOMMENDATION 3-7. Recognizing its responsibilities for results at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the Maritime Administration should ensure that individuals who are members of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s leadership team, including Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, Commandant, and Academic Dean, have among them the requisite skills and experience required to lead an institution of higher learning and to train mariners. Doing so will require highly qualified and experienced professionals to expertly: (1) administer an academic institution of higher learning; (2) produce trained, credentialed mariners; and (3) create a safe, inclusive environment for all cadets, free from all forms of assault and harassment.
- RECOMMENDATION 3-8. The Maritime Administration’s leaders should conduct a thorough review of all policies of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. This review and corrective follow-up action should be completed in no more than one year.
- RECOMMENDATION 3-9. The Maritime Administration should examine the appropriate division of decision-making and authorities of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s management between the Superintendent and the Maritime Administration’s headquarters.
- RECOMMENDATION 3-10. Given various existing oversight bodies supporting the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the Maritime Administration should reconsider whether the Maritime Education and Training Executive Review Board is needed. Having too many oversight bodies can confuse lines of authority and can short-circuit effective leadership in the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
Interestingly, these last two recommendations are related to Monday’s post. There seems to be a growing recognition that the overall manner by which the Academy is governed is broken and needs to be addressed. (And check out the latest comments to that post for what the start of what I hope will become a lively discussion on the future of governance at the Academy.)
There’s lots more in the independent assessment worthy of note on MARAD’s role with respect to the maritime industry. Lots of discussion about state school training ships, the merchant marine’s essential role in national defense, the Jones Act, shipbuilding, etc.