Voice to Congress

Fund the Maritime Security Program!
The Issue
The Maritime Security Program (MSP) is an essential part of our maritime strategy and the $300 million program saves the Department of Defense billions every year. 

A report prepared for the National Defense Transportation Association - Military Sealift Committee concluded that it would cost the taxpayer $13 billion to replicate just the vessel capacity provided by the MSP. In addition, the United States Transportation Command has estimated that it would cost the U.S. Government an additional $52 billion to replicate the "global intermodal system" that is made available to the Department of Defense by MSP participants who are continuously developing, maintaining, and upgrading their systems. To undermine this program which currently costs just about $5 million/per ship and redirect that sealift burden to DOD would represent an unwise use of taxpayer dollars.

The 60 vessel program provides the foundation to support the U.S. commercial fleet operating in international trade and an economically viable U.S.-flag Merchant Marine for national defense and economic security. Sustaining the MSP fleet component of the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) for future surge and sustainment operations requires full long-term funding for program stability, including continued exemption from sequestration, even during continuing resolutions. Additionally, to compensate for further reductions in military and other preference cargoes and to ensure continued economic viability, the amount of payment should cover the almost full extra cost of U.S. flag operation, (estimated at $5-7M/ship/year).

A Solution
The Navy League is urging Congress to appropriate the full $300 million in funding for the Maritime Security Program (MSP) in the FY2020 Department of Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The bipartisan leadership of the House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee has a dear colleague letter on this issue for which they are currently seeking signatures.

Why you should take action
In order to compete with heavily subsidized foreign shipbuilding, and sweatshop conditions on foreign flagged vessels the U.S.-flag fleet needs support to sustain a 60 ship U.S. flag maritime security fleet as outlined by the Department of Defense's current and projected sealift requirements. This program is vital to our national security and saves the taxpayer billions.

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