Why Military Sealift Command Needs Merchant Mariners at the Helm

CIMSEC – The recent issues facing the Merchant Marine are not simply the product of COVID or other recent events. They are simply yet another expression of the longstanding problems of status the Merchant Marine has faced within the U.S. Navy.

‘Despair’ spreading throughout the Military Sealift Command fleet over ‘draconian’ COVID-19 restrictions, unions warn

Navy Times – For nearly five months, thousands of civilian mariners assigned to the Navy’s fleet of U.S. Military Sealift Command ships have been living under what are believed to be some of the strictest COVID-19 restrictions in the military. And those restrictions were dropped on them with almost no notice, according to their advocates.

U.S. Sealift Lacks Personnel, Hulls, National Strategy

USNI News – An aging and inactive government fleet dependent on a shrinking pool of merchant mariners to get underway is how a new report describes the U.S. military’s strategic sealift capability.

Test of Ready Reserve Force Exposes Need For Newer Ships, More People

USNI News – When U.S. Transportation Command tested the ability of the nation’s maritime Ready Reserve Force to set sail on short notice, only about 40 percent of the vessels deemed ready were able to leave port.

The US military ran the largest stress test of its sealift fleet in years. It’s in big trouble

Defense News – The U.S. military in September ordered the largest stress test of its wartime sealift fleet in the command’s history, with 33 out of 61 government-owned ships being activated simultaneously. The results were bad, according to a new report.

White House poised to blow up US Navy’s plans to recapitalize its aging sealift ships

Defense News – The White House wants the U.S. Navy to go back to the drawing board and find new ways to replace its aging sealift fleet, a move that could set back efforts that military officials see as vital to maintaining the military’s ability to project power across the globe.

Lessons from a Training Ship

USNI Blog – As a former surface warfare officer, now a civilian pursuing a merchant mariner license, I recently had the opportunity to serve onboard the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College’s training ship, the Empire State VI. I was assigned as a deck training officer and lab instructor, but I also received an immersive education in how the Merchant Marine trains its officers and operates its ships.

TRANSCOM Stress Test Practiced Cargo Delivery Through Mine- and Sub-Filled Waters

USNI News – Running dark and nearly silent, last month a convoy of Military Sealift Command ships practiced delivering people and gear to the fight as part of a large U.S. Transportation Command surge sealift capability stress test.

Despite rising awareness of critical US sealift shortfalls, solutions are elusive

Defense News – America’s sealift fleet is responsible for providing the military with transportation across oceans, but despite seemingly universal acknowledgement that the fleet is in trouble, the current recapitalization plan significantly lags behind what the military needs to avoid a collapse in capacity, projected to start in 2024 if the current situation holds.

Sealift is America’s Achilles Heel in the Age of Great Power Competition

War on the Rocks – It is important to delve into the problems facing America’s maritime power projection — specifically the diminishing capacity of the U.S. merchant marine today and its impact upon future naval operations in an era of great power competition.

Facing a sealift capacity collapse, the Navy seeks strategy for new auxiliary ships

Defense News – The U.S. Navy is moving toward settling on an approach for recapitalizing the nation’s aged sealift fleet, moving away from a single common hull for five missions.

Challenges for Military Sealift Command: The Distributed Fleet

Breaking Defense – A fundamental question in today’s budget battle is, can the MSC actually support Navy plans to more widely distribute its fleet? Today’s answer can only be a provisional yes, given the shortage of ships, and the proliferation of new high-demand drivers such as the Littoral Combat Ship. In addition to a declining merchant fleet there is a growing shortage of trained and experienced civil mariners generated by the decline in the US merchant marine.

Military Sealift Command – The Navy's support navy keeps growing

Virginian Pilot – As the Navy struggles to increase the size of its dwindling fleet, whatís known as the “other navy” is having little trouble. The success of the noncombat ships has kept it going since the 1970s.

Military Sealift Command – Military Sealift Command is renamed

Virginian Pilot – A Navy command that operates 133 ships manned mainly by civilians, but not usually counted in the fighting fleet, is getting a new name and headquarters. The Military Sealift Command has established in Norfolk the Military Sealift Fleet Support Command.

Military Sealift Command – Sealift galley jobs aren't ''sexy,'' but the pay isn't bad

Virginian Pilot – The Military Sealift Command is looking for a few good cooks to feed the folks who feed and supply our sailors and troops.

Military Sealift Command – Military Sealift Command Maintains an Accelerated Pace

Sea Power – The U.S. Navyís Military Sealift Command (MSC) undertook one of the largest and fastest military cargo movements since World War II during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the work is not finished yet.