​Rep. Duncan Hunter Introduces Legislation to Increase Maritime Security Program Funding

May 19th 2015

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) last week introduced an amendment to defense authorization legislation that would provide a much-needed increase in funding for the Maritime Security Program (MSP). Appropriations for the program have been unchanged–at $3.1 million per ship, or $186 million a year for the fleet–since Fiscal Year 2012. MSP is scheduled to continue at that funding level until Fiscal Year 2019, when the 60-ship program would receive a $24 million increase. The Hunter amendment would boost funding for the program in Fiscal Year 2016. If it is included as part of the defense bill that is signed into law, that means that the amendment would increase MSP’s funding level by $24 million beginning Oct. 1, 2015. The increase would translate into a total of $3.5 million per vessel per year.

“The drop in the number of U.S-flag commercial vessels that are available to supplement military transport adds to the strain of an already reduced and undersized naval fleet,” Hunter has said. “With emerging threats requiring the full attention of naval resources and the shifting of America’s defense strategy to the Pacific, the support provided through the Maritime Security Program is absolutely essential. Congress must look ahead and consider policies that support the growth of the U.S. international flag fleet to alleviate pressure on limited naval resources.”

“On May 22, the nation will observe National Maritime Day,” Hunter says. “Not only is this a time to observe our history, it’s also an opportunity to recommit to America’s maritime industry. In the process, preserving what works—such as the Maritime Security Program and the Jones Act—will go a long way, but it’s equally important that we explore new avenues such as short sea shipping, the liquefied-natural-gas trade and an improved ship-financing program, all of which can be accomplished through a national maritime strategy.” Hunter is chair of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.