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Posted: March 12, 2018

Military and transportation leaders highlight importance of American mariners and Jones Act during House Armed Forces Subcommittee hearing

The following article was released March 9 by the American Maritime Partnership, a coalition of which American Maritime Officers Service is a member and which American Maritime Officers supports.

WASHINGTON - The House Armed Forces Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces and Subcommittee on Readiness held a joint hearing on Thursday, March 9, during which MARAD Administrator Admiral Mark H. Buzby and U.S. Transportation Commander General Darren W. McDew discussed the significance of the Jones Act for national security readiness.

America's domestic fleet is an important part of the national maritime infrastructure that helps ensure there will be ample U.S. sealift capacity to defend our nation. American ships, crews to man them, ship construction and repair yards, intermodal equipment, terminals, cargo tracking systems, and other infrastructure can be made available to the U.S. military at a moment's notice in times of war, national emergency, or even in peacetime for humanitarian missions.

During the hearing, Congressman Duncan Hunter asked:

"Let me quote General McDew what you said last year, 'Without the Jones Act, without the Maritime Security Program, without cargo preference, our ability to project force is in jeopardy.' Is that still the case or is that changed?"

General McDew responded:

"For me, the Jones Act from a war fighting perspective is all about the mariners and the ability to keep mariners trained and ready to go to war. The ships that are in the Jones Act are also useful, but the primary thing we get from the Jones Act are the mariners. And those mariners have been with us in every conflict that I can imagine and suffered great loss and still stay with us."

Admiral Buzby added:

"Absolutely, sir. The Jones Act really is the linchpin. It is foundational to our merchant marine as it is today. It's the ships; it's the mariners, which are critical. And it's the infrastructure that supports the shipbuilding and ship repair part of the industry and all of the supply chain that has impact on our government shipbuilding programs as well. The costs of all of those and the availability of shipbuilders are greatly impacted by that. So [the Jones Act] has far ranging impact."

The complete hearing and written testimony can be viewed here.