The United States relies on its maritime industry for both military and economic security. For more than 200 years, the US-flagged merchant marine has contributed substantially to U.S. economic vitality and independence, and helped to underpin America’s position as a global power and the world’s biggest aid donor.

Successive American governments have realized the importance of maintaining a strong and healthy fleet of US-flagged ships operated by trained American sailors. The maintenance of militarily useful vessels and trained merchant seamen in peacetime provides an essential sealift capability which has been frequently called on by US armed forces in times of war and in times of national emergency. In short, American soldiers and first responders depend on American shipping. From delivering food aid and emergency supplies to impoverished nations, to providing a supply line by sea of crucial supplies to our troops around the world, the U.S. maritime industry helps achieve the security and diplomatic objectives of the United States government.

A strong merchant marine also generates thousands of American jobs and millions of dollars in economic output at home. It is in the national interest of the United States that the government continues to enact, fund, and defend programs that promote the sustainability of this fundamental industry.