One Fleet, One Fight: Four F’s To Give About Sealift

CIMSEC – The U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) Deputy Commander and the former Commandant of the Marine Corps are in one accord. These leaders have effectively parsed out two distinct dilemmas — an “away game” fight and a battle to get to that fight. The wicked problems facing the Marine Corps, its fellow services, and TRANSCOM are, in fact, components of a collective dilemma. The strategic competition milieu no longer differentiates between the frontline and the homefront as if there were combatants and non-combatants. It is a singular fight.

American Strategic Sealift in Peer-To-Peer Conflicts: A Historical Retrospective, Part 2

CIMSEC – Today, China is in the position that the U.S. found itself on the eve of the Second World War, with a large maritime infrastructure supporting a growing Navy and commercial merchant fleet with a global presence. China’s COSCO Shipping is the single largest maritime company in the world. At the same moment, U.S. Navy programs are foundering and most of the protections once in place to ensure a large domestic merchant marine and industrial base have been dismantled. One must envision what the next peer-to-peer naval conflict could look like for the United States, with a U.S. Navy that is first in the world, but severely challenged, and a merchant marine that is 21st and declining, versus a nation like China whose navy and merchant marine ranks second in both categories and climbing.

Solutions to Revitalizing America’s Strategic Sealift

CIMSEC – With a bi-polar hegemonic world, the U.S. needs to take an immediate and serious deep dive into guaranteeing commercial cargoes for U.S.-flag carriers. This is not a new idea, but one worth revisiting. This proposal, if enforced by treaty or legislation, would have negligible impact on shippers while significantly improving the capacity and number of both the U.S.-flag fleet and U.S.-mariners.

For a Greener, More Lethal Force, Look to Strategic Sealift Recapitalization

CIMSEC – Recapitalizing strategic sealift vessels would provide a needed catalyst for green maritime technology development, driving toward the Biden administration’s new shipping climate target while improving the US Navy’s warfighting edge. A greener merchant fleet, enabled by technology developed during the recapitalization of the aging sealift fleet would address an important source of climate change and increase the sustainment reach of the logistics fleet. Such a maritime green revolution might even improve lethality.

Obsolescence, Chokepoints, and the Maritime Militia: Facing Primary Threats to U.S. Sealift

CIMSEC – As a key provider of surge forces to crisis locations around the world, United States Transportation Command must confront any and all potential challengers it might face in the 21st century, specifically the rising maritime power of the People’s Republic of China. Challenges USTRANSCOM could face in this regard are threefold—the aging and inadequate nature of the American sealift force, the vulnerability of said forces to strategic chokepoints in the event of conflict, and the versatility and strength of the Chinese People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia.

American Strategic Sealift in Peer-To-Peer Conflicts: A Historical Retrospective, Part 1

CIMSEC – If the United States finds itself engaged in peer-to-peer competition and conflict, as it has in the past during the First World War, the Second World War, and during the Cold War, it will find itself in a position that it has not been in for over a century; of a nation lacking a dedicated sealift force and a merchant marine only a fraction of a percent necessary to carry its own commerce.

‘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.

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.

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.