The role of U.S. maritime policy strategic sealift
Williams, Stephen J.
Doyle, Richard B.
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Strategic sealift is essential to the Department of Defense for it to carry out its national security mission. Surge sealift is provided primarily by DoD's organic fleet. Sustainment sealift is accomplished through chartering commercial ships. U.S. maritime policy places the primary requirement for sustainment sealift on the U.S. maritime industry. Policies dating to the 1920s attempt to ensure an adequate number of ships by providing operating subsidies and cargo preference. Despite these policies, the size of the U.S. commercial fleet has decline& DoD uses foreign flag ships to meet its needs when U.S.- flagged vessels are not available. Foreign flag ship use is significant and presents risk to the conduct of military operations. The world maritime industry has undergone significant change. The rise of flags of convenience and open registries has altered the industry. This thesis reviews U.S. maritime policy, DoD's requirement for sealift and options for obtaining sealift. It identifies and explores the nature of the risk related to strategic sealift facing the DoD as it enters the 21st century and suggests that the risk associated with the use of foreign flag vessels is low.
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