Senate Takes Up Jaenichen Nomination

 

January 2014

 

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Acting MARAD Administrator Testifies on Capitol Hill

 

Acting Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen appeared before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Nov. 21 as President Obama’s nominee to become the official administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD).

 

Jaenichen – who served for more than 30 years as a U.S. Navy submarine officer – said he would focus on several areas if confirmed, vowing to support key maritime programs and push for policies designed to protect U.S. mariner jobs.

 

The goal, he said during his testimony, is to revitalize the U.S. Merchant Marine and ensure the country maintains the pool of highly skilled mariners and militarily useful vessels it needs to support both its economy and national security.

 

“Sustaining a pool of qualified U.S. mariners is critical to meeting the nation’s security needs,” Jaenichen said. “The U.S. - flag fleet not only provides safe, reliable and environmentally responsible transport of cargo to support economic activity, both domestically and internationally, but also supports Department of Defense (DOD) sustainment sealift capacity requirements in times of armed conflict or national emergencies.”

 

He added that key programs like the Jones Act and the Maritime Security Program (MSP) must be protected. The Jones Act helps ensure the nation has a pool of well-trained American mariners and reliable vessels by requiring all cargo transported between U.S. ports happens on American-made, -flagged and -crewed vessels. The MSP, meanwhile, provides an annual stipend to ensure a fleet of militarily useful American vessels are available for times of need.

 

“Without these programs, we will not have the skilled personnel needed to crew government-owned ships in time of armed conflict or national emergency and commercial ships to provide sustainment sealift capacity for the DOD,” Jaenichen said.

 

He then singled out the Jones Act as one of the country’s most important maritime rules. Aside from its national security benefits, recent studies have found that the Jones Act accounts for nearly 500,000 American jobs and more than $100 billion in annual economic output.

 

“The Jones Act is one of the strongest elements of U.S. maritime policy, encouraging investment in privately owned U.S. companies to operate shipyards and vessels that employ well-trained crews and maritime industry workers,” Jaenichen said.

 

Jaenichen also vowed to support domestic shipbuilding, pointing to a recent MARAD report that found the direct and indirect economic benefits of domestic shipbuilding reached all 50 states and resulted in more than 402,000 jobs, $23.9 billion in labor income and $36 billion in Gross Domestic Product.

 

“In addition, MARAD has seen increased applications in recent months for Maritime Loan Guarantees (Title XI) and small shipyard grants, reflecting a willingness to invest in this critical industry. If confirmed, I plan to focus on improving MARAD’s administration of its Title XI ship financing program in order to support this increase in demand as efficiently and effectively as possible,” Jaenichen said.

 

Bringing his testimony before the committee to a conclusion, Jaenichen reiterated the importance of the nation’s maritime industry and vowed to do everything he could to strengthen it.

 

“While there are many challenges facing the U.S. maritime industry, there are also many opportunities,” he said. “If confirmed and given the honor to serve as the next maritime administrator, I hope to capitalize on those opportunities and I look forward to working with this committee to address these important issues and restore our nation’s status as one of the premier maritime nations in the world.”

 

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