The next administration must address the crisis in military sealift. Multiple studies, government officials, and experts have warned that the sealift fleet is in jeopardy in recent years. Unless a major effort is undertaken to correct the situation, the United States could lose its ability to project military power abroad and sustain forward-deployed forces. This means that the Department of Defense must be willing to spend resources on support vessels at a time when resources for major weapons programs will be strained by flattening or even declining defense budgets. The Navy published a plan that proposes recapitalizing the surge sealift fleet by “extending the service life of some ships, buying used ships and modifying them to perform the sealift mission, and building new sealift ships.” Constructing new vessels in U.S. shipyards must be part of any plan. So too is maintaining a viable Merchant Marine. I have written more on the crisis in military sealift and how to solve it here.
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