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Posted: December 21, 2015

Maritime Security Program funding increased for this fiscal year; future MSP increases authorized as appropriations act is signed into law

On December 18, President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 - legislation that funds the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year. Included in the act are an increase in funding for each of the ships enrolled in the Maritime Security Program for this fiscal year, as well as authorization to increase funding for the MSP fleet in subsequent years above previously prescribed levels.

The appropriations act provides $210 million for the Maritime Security Program, an amount that will raise the allotment for each ship from $3.1 to $3.5 million in fiscal year 2016. The funding increase was authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, which was signed into law November 25.

The appropriations act also includes language from H.R. 702, which was approved by the House of Representatives on October 9. This language authorizes future increases in Maritime Security Program funding.

Although funding for the MSP will need to be appropriated separately each year, the language in the appropriations act authorizes increases in MSP funding to nearly $300 million in fiscal year 2017; to $300 million for fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020; and to approximately $314 million for fiscal year 2021.

As was stated in H.R. 702: "The 60-ship Maritime Security Fleet is a vital element of our military's strategic sealift and global response capability. It assures United States-flag ships and United States crews will be available to support the United States military when it needs to mobilize to protect our allies, and is the most prudent and economical solution to meet current and projected sealift requirements for the United States."