The following excerpt was featured on Fast Lane, The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Transportation:
Ensuring that producers and suppliers can ship freight effectively from coast to coast and to markets around the world is a key part of the DOT mission. But when American forces are deployed abroad, the cargo supporting their efforts becomes particularly important, and our Maritime Administration (MARAD) works hard to sustain our troops with the food, equipment, and personnel they need to do their jobs and return home safely.
Yesterday at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, Acting Maritime Administrator Paul "Chip" Jaenichen reminded students that "logistics matter." The business of moving, supplying, and maintaining our joint forces is critical to their success. Logistics determine whether we can deploy a force at all; they determine where and when we can do so; and they determine the tempo and reach with which our forces can fight.
Acting Administrator Jaenichen also made it clear to students that, when it comes to logistics, MARAD has their backs.
MARAD works with the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) and the Military Sealift Command (MSC) to ensure that our nation has sufficient ships and merchant mariners to meet its strategic deployment and sustainment requirements. Our programs ensure that both government and privately owned vessels are available to TRANSCOM and MSC when needed.
Without the U.S. commercial maritime industry and the programs administered by MARAD, American forces would have a much more difficult time accomplishing their missions.
Through the Ready Reserve Force of MARAD-owned ships, the U.S. flagged private ships of the Voluntary Intermodal Shipping Agreement (VISA), and the Maritime Security Program (MSP), the American maritime community makes its vessels and its mariners available for national service whenever our joint forces need logistics support.
For example, these efforts resulted in effective and seamless sealift delivery during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. MSP vessels have been a key contributor to our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, moving more than 50 percent of all military cargo. And since 2009 alone, MSP ships have carried more than 90 percent of the cargo needed to support U.S. military operations and rebuilding efforts in both countries.
The U.S. is the only nation capable of deploying major forces anywhere in the world at a moment's notice in support of our national security objectives. Part of that capability comes from our ability to sustain those forces.
Our Maritime Administration is proud of its strong record of ensuring that logistical support in the past, and MARAD stands ready to deliver when and if that support is needed in the future.