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Chairman Courtney Statement on MARAD Contracting Award for New National Security Multi-Mission Vessel Ships

April 8, 2020
Press Release

NORWICH, CT – Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, released the following statement today after the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) and TOTE Services, LLC announced that a contract to construct up to five new National Security Multi-Mission Vessels (NSMV) has been awarded to Philly Shipyard, Inc. The construction of new NSMV ships will support Chairman Courtney’s longstanding bipartisan goal to recapitalize America’s domestic sealift and maritime response capabilities, providing more resources to the pipeline needed to train mariners to crew commercial and government-owned sealift ships during crises.  

“In 2016, the Seapower Subcommittee heard alarming testimony that without replacement of the aging training ships assigned to the State Maritime Academies located across the country, our nation will be unable to meet the demand for qualified mariners we expect in decades ahead. That is why our panel took the first action that year in the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act to authorize the National Security Multi Mission Vessel to serve as a platform for replacing the aging fleet of training ships assigned to state maritime academies. Additionally, the ships would be used for disaster response and other priority and emergency response operations – a mission whose importance is underscored at this time of national challenge,” Chairman Courtney said. 

“Today’s announcement fulfils the work that our subcommittee had done since to support the NSMV, and the vital role our maritime academies play in our nation’s defense and our maritime economy. As important, the award of this contract to the Philly Shipyard is an exciting investment in the revitalization of our domestic maritime construction capabilities. It is my hope that the NSMV program will serve as a model for how we can effectively and affordably recapitalize other elements of our domestic sealift capabilities as we look to address the growing shortfall in our sealift requirements,” Chairman Courtney added. 

Chairman Courtney has worked for years to respond to increasingly urgent testimony from leaders at the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) about the shortage of officers needed to support domestic sealift capabilities. In 2016, Courtney worked to provide the first ever authorization for MARAD to start work on the new National Security Multi-Mission Vessel ships, which would serve as a purpose-built training platform to replace the state maritime academies aging fleet. This new program will utilize a new construction manager concept instead of a traditional acquisition executive office. This concept is designed to provide speed-to-delivery and lower cost and will hopefully be a model for future sealift efforts.  

Most recently, in his first year as Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee in 2019, Courtney worked to include several investments for America’s domestic sealift and maritime response capabilities in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). These included his provision to reject the Trump Administration’s proposal to cut funding for the NSMV program by 30%. 

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