Ann Phillips is the new head of the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), following her confirmation by the Senate on May 10.
Phillips retired as a rear admiral after serving nearly 31 years on active duty with the U.S. Navy. “We look forward to working with Admiral Phillips at the Maritime Administration,” stated SIU President Michael Sacco. “She has an accomplished record within the Navy and in Virginia. “We also thank Lucinda Lessley for her work as the acting administrator,” he added.
Prior to being nominated by President Biden in October 2021, Phillips was the Special Assistant to the Virginia Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection. In that role, she coordinated with federal, state and local partners to create equitable strategies to deal with rising waters and climate impact to critical coastal infrastructure assets within the commonwealth.
She received her commission through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps upon graduation from the University of North Carolina in 1983. She served aboard two vessels – the USS Cape Cod and the USS San Jose – during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. She was the first commanding officer aboard the USS Mustin.
As the executive assistant to the 6th Fleet Commander, Phillips was involved in the deployment of goods in support of the Pakistani earthquake relief efforts. Prior to her retirement, she was commander of Expeditionary Strike Group Two, which included 14 vessels and 10 subordinate commands – all part of the Amphibious Expeditionary Forces along the U.S. east coast.
She earned a Master of Business Administration from the College of William and Mary in 2016. Ku’uhaku Park, president of the American Maritime Partnership (to which the SIU is affiliated), said Phillips’ confirmation comes “at a time when maintaining a strong American Maritime is even more critical than ever. We look forward to working with Admiral Phillips to ensure our nation has the shipbuilding, sealift capacity, and reliable movement of commerce that is essential to America’s security.”
MARAD is self-described as the Department of Transportation agency “responsible for America’s waterborne transportation system…. At our core, we support the technical aspects of America’s maritime transportation infrastructure – things like ships and shipping, port and vessel operations, national security, environment, and safety. We promote the use of waterborne transportation, and ensure that its infrastructure integrates seamlessly with other methods of transportation. MARAD also maintains a fleet of cargo ships in reserve to provide surge sealift during war and national emergencies, and is responsible for disposing of ships in that fleet, as well as other non-combatant government ships as they become obsolete.
“Beyond that, we work hard to maintain the overall health of the U.S. Merchant Marine. Commercial mariners, vessels, and intermodal facilities are vital for supporting national security, and so the agency provides support and information for current mariners, extensive support for educating future mariners, and programs to educate America’s young people about the vital role of maritime operations in the lives of all Americans.”