THE CRUCIAL NEED FOR MARITIME RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
VADM Albert J. Herberger, USN (Ret.)
September 30, 2009
Despite our maritime heritage the United States is no longer a global leader in maritime transport or shipbuilding. Additionally, we are increasingly outgrowing our ports, highways and rail systems. Our coastlines have become an underutilized asset. Our nation's industrial base is weakening as a result of skilled personnel shortages and low production throughput and lack of investment.
A bleak picture.
But, if you are an optimist you would look at this situation as an opportunity.
The other critical element has been declining is research, development and innovation, compared to our historic progress both within the government and industry.
Applying technology, as an enabler, should be on the front end of the process to improve and modernize our surface and maritime transportation.
Without it what opportunities and improvements are we missing?
I will focus on maritime policy and I believe other modes of transportation have similar challenges.
Also, I will discuss current sea services initiatives and programs.
U.S. maritime policy overallhas been an inconsistent pattern of policies.
Water transportation has always been vital to the well being of the United States in our international trade, national defense and domestic economic expansion.
U.S. maritime policy has reflected the changing needs and priorities of the nation throughout its history in a pattern of "feast or famine" approaches.
Strong action and support followed by long periods of almost non-support.
When you consider this nation
A maritime nation
The greatest trading nation in the world
An economic giant by every measure
With a highly successful maritime history, in peace and war.
To have this on again/off again policy pattern is contrary to common sensea paradox.
It seems that major policy initiatives are enacted when we are in an extreme condition and not before, in spite of warnings and recommendations for corrective action.
Since the end of World War II U.S. international trade has grown dramatically, but, all that volume growth went to foreign ships.
Because while other countries' maritime policies, including tax and shipbuilding policies, encouraged investment in new shipping tonnage to capture the growing trade,
Our own spotty policies barely sustained a fleet of sufficient size to carry the same quantity of cargo today, as we did 40 years ago.
Both international and domestic fleets, along with revitalized ports and waterways, can be vital components of our transportation system and indispensible elements of our national security capability.
The industry's challenges and opportunities are many and must be aggressively pursued. Unfortunately, there will be no specific "enduring national maritime policy" to be followed,
There will be the Federal government's commitment to maintain a commercial maritime industry to meet the needs of the nation.
To maintain the existing U.S.-flag commercial fleet and lay the foundation for future growth, a broad range of actions must be taken: first, we must ensure existing maritime policies and programs operate as intended and concurrently, the industry and policymakers must also act on broader reforms.
These reforms include: on the commercial side:
Increased research and development
Increasing attractiveness for private investment
Changing the basis for maritime tax policy
Removing institutional impediments to new policies
Meeting the competitive threat of "not for profit" merchant fleets.
On the national security side, particularly the role of the commercial industry in support of the military services like so many other areas is evolving.
To understand the future we must focus on the trends within the sea services:
Overall trying to modernize and grow the capability at a difficult time with the demands and compression of the Federal budget.
Here are a few specifics that will impact the commercial maritime support and also a number of initiatives that will need substantial R&D. In the:
Shipbuilding account (SCN) FY 10 $13 billion, 45 ships half of which are small Littoral Combat Ships, LCS - no new type of ship except a tug. But, in order to grow the Navy fleet from today's 286 ships to a fleet of 313, need $20 to $23 billion per year for the next 5 years.
TAKE's combat logistic ship 11th keel just laid
14 ships in program
Mobile Logistics Platform (MLP) changing from combined barracks and heavy lift vessel to heavy lift only.
Sealift issues: T-5 tanker replacements, (OPDS) Offshore Petroleum Discharge Ship.
With Navy's emphasizing irregular warfare; patrol; craft and riverine warfare craft are coming back.
Increased humanitarian missions.
Navy's role in anti-piracy operations.
$100 million added to Navy's budget for Energy and Green Initiatives:
Bio-fuels for ships and planes
Ashore thermal power
Increased energy security by reducing dependence on fossil fuels
Reducing greenhouse gases
Size of the amphibious force, 30 large ships, need more
Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) (25 mi offshore)
Increased irregular warfare missions and losing time to maintain the traditional "from the sea" expeditionary warfare capability.
Seabasing concept - just inching along - sliding right in the programs
Need cheaper program
Decreasing the weight of equipments carried by individual marines as well the weight of vehicles and larger equipmentsthat need to be transported by aircraft and in some cases ships and vessels.
Marines may be leading the Navy in energy and green initiatives i.e., wind turbines for tents and other in the field initiatives.
There are new Pentagon priorities being shaped for the Navy and Marine Corps with a shift from hi-tech weapons to more basic arms and systems that can be deployed quickly.
Velocity of the deployment is a new major DOD goal.
This is the end to end transportation not just the speed of the vessels. As you know, the commercial transportation industry is also working the issue to save energy and cost.
Badly need to recapitalize their fleet and aircraft
Security; CONUS and overseas
Traditional safety and rescue missions
Inter-agency ops center and maritime domain awareness functions
Emphasizing R&D on the front end of their acquisition process and operational testing
U.S.-Flag Merchant Marine:
A strong commercial U.S.-flag Merchant Marine is more critical than ever in today's uncertain world. The ability to access this maritime capability of ships and skilled seafarers is essential to our national and economic security. Ninety-five percent of the equipment and supplies required to deploy the U.S. armed forces is delivered by ship. U.S.-flagged and government-owned vessels, manned by more than 8,000 U.S. citizen mariners, continue to play a significant and indispensible role in strategic sealift support for Afghanistan and Iraq operations. In today's Irregular Warfare environment, with increased requirement to support and sustain special operations forces, maritime coalition forces and Expeditionary Strike Groups (ESGs), the military will need a substantial logistics force and commercial sealift capability. In-theater afloat, prepositioned war-fighting capabilities for immediate employment will require a variety of Navy and commercial vessels including connector vessels to support Sea Bases, Global Fleet Stations and expeditionary or humanitarian assistance/ disaster relief operations.
But, even as the United States' need for reliable and efficient, safe marine transportation continues to grow in domestic and international trade, the base of skilled U.S. mariners is shrinking. This diminishing pool of skilled seafarers presents a crisis that threatens the nation's ability to project timely action with the need for both commercial fleet and Navy's organic fleet with civil mariners. The U.S. commercial fleet includes the 60 ships in the Maritime Security Program (MSP) and the 133 ships provided by the Voluntary Intermodal Agreement (VISA). These ships' persistent global presence and robust intermodal capability, have been the major contributors in providing critical strategic sustainment sealift.
The Maritime Administration's (MARAD'S) Ready Reserve Force (RRF) and the Navy's Military Sealift Command fleet, sized to support DOD surge and special mission requirements include Roll on/Roll off (Ro/Ro), heavy lift, offshore petroleum discharge, auxiliary crane, aviation logistics support vessels and hospital ships.
Maritime Transportation contributes more than $10 billion per year to the economy. The U.S. Marine Transportation System (MTS) consists of waterways, ports and their intermodal connections, vessels and vehicles crucial to the U.S. economy. As the world's trade leader, the United States requires a technologically advanced, secure, efficient and environmentally sound MTS. The MTS annually moves more than 2.3 billion tons of domestic and international cargo worth $2 trillion through 360 public and private ports and 25,000 miles of waterways. Additionally, 3.3 billion barrels of oil is imported to meet our energy demands. 180 million passengers are transported by ferry vessels along with the movement of more than 7 million cruise ship passengers. 13 million people are employed in this industry, including 60,000 water transportation workers and 36,000 mariners. 8,000 of this pool of mariners are qualified to crew DOD sealift ships. The U.S. domestic fleet of over 38,000 vessels is a $48 billion investment.
Roughly, one quarter of the world's trade flows through U.S. ports. Our economic prosperity is dependent on international trade, of which 95 percent, by volume, moves by sea. Any disruption in this global supply chain would have a serious negative impact on the U.S. economy and consequently, our national security. Freight flowing through our nation's ports and waterways will increase by 50% by 2020. The volume of international container traffic is expected to double, creating greater congestion on overburdened land, port, water, passenger and freight delivery systems. To address this, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) has created Gateway Offices in 10 key U.S. ports to work with Federal, State and local organizations to reduce congestions and address environmental problems in the ports and waterways. Only a truly seamless, integrated, multimodal transportation system with an expanded Marine Highway System and freight movement will meet the nation's growing needs. The system should now include the Arctic area to use the navigable waters around and in the sea ice drifting in the warming Arctic Ocean.
I hope I have given you "food for thought" in these keynote remarks
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