On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, I urge you to cosign a letter being circulated by Representatives Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) urging the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to ensure that language critical to both the domestic maritime industry and national security is retained in the FY’ 21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Section 3511 of H.R. 6395, the House-passed NDAA, would authorize the creation of a tanker security program, consisting of 10 privately-owned, militarily-useful U.S.-flag product tankers. This program would be largely modeled after the Maritime Security Program, providing badly needed sealift capacity for fuel products while ensuring that these goods travel on vessels owned by United States citizens, crewed by American mariners and operated under the United States flag.
Today, the Department of Defense reports that it is nearly 76 fuel tankers short of its needs. Not only is this detrimental to military readiness, but it also ensures that jobs that could be performed by U.S. mariners on ships built in domestic shipyards will continue to be outsourced to foreign nations and crew. By authorizing the tanker security program in the final NDAA, Congress can simultaneously take action to create good jobs in the maritime industry that is currently facing a manpower shortage, while meeting the needs of the Department of Defense.
Given the broad scope of issues that will be considered in this year’s NDAA conference process, we urge you to sign on to support the inclusion of the tanker security program, as passed by the House, in the final FY’21 NDAA legislation. We hope you will consider joining this request, and please contact Katie Bradley (Katie.Bradley@mail.house.gov) with Rep. Lowenthal or Kelsey Griswold (Kelsey.Griswold@mail.house.gov) with Rep. Smith to add your name or ask any questions.
Larry I. Willis