Military Sealift Committee

U.S. national sealift is dependent on maritime resources from the military and private sector, which are interdependent partners in achieving national maritime goals. This committee dedicates deep NDTA expertise to facilitate inquiry and dialogue. 



  • Established coalition between ship operators, ship builders; and labor unions to discuss ways to rebuild the US Merchant Marine
  • Supported and provided input to the National Security Sealift Policy: signed by the President, 1989
  • Completed quick reaction study on activation of Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ships during Desert Shield/Storm; provided recommendations to USTRANSCOM
  • Completed RRF Sizing Study for Commander, USTRANSCOM
  • Developed the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) in conjunction with DOD, USTRANSCOM, and MARAD
  • Developed a set of guiding principles for lay-up of RRF ships
  • Published white papers on the Maritime Security Program, Security and Tonnage Tax, and Commercial and Military fleet mix
  • Established VISA Executive Working Group Subcommittee
  • Established U.S.-flag registry Executive Working Group Subcommittee co-chaired by industry and U.S. Coast Guard

A recent white paper was published through NDTA HQ:

U.S. Military Reliance on the Commercial Tanker Market

Assured versus Assumed Access:  Two very different capabilities

 An NDTA Educational Editorial

Important Topic:  Approved for publication by VADM (ret.) William A. Brown, USN

January 2020

Executive Summary:  On the surface, the pool of Medium Range (MR) sized tankers trading commercially numbers approximately 3,000. This relatively large fleet allows for different views and approaches towards accessing commercial tankers based upon a defined set of demand criteria.  Two areas, in particular, have a significant impact on the interpretation of assured versus assumed access.  First, is an understanding of the nuances of the tanker commercial marketplace.  Second, is the constantly evolving geopolitical landscape that influences foreign governments and company(ies) decision making. This paper will explore these two areas in more detail, alongside a contrast of U.S. policy versus China policy.  There is no concrete conclusion to be offered here, simply due to the dynamic nature of the variables any conclusion may be invalidated in short order.  Consequently, it offers a set of considerations U.S. defense decision makers should be aware of as they assess a posture of assured versus assumed access to commercial tanker capacity.

Read More Here


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