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National Defense Reserve Fleet

A crane leans over a fleet of vessels.

American Ships, American Crews, American Jobs

The Maritime Administration manages and maintains the fleet of inactive, Government-owned vessels in the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) to serve as a reserve of ships for national defense and national emergencies. Consisting of approximately 100 ships, NDRF vessels are primarily militarily useful cargo and tanker ships.

A subset of the NDRF is the Ready Reserve Force (RRF) consisting of 46 vessels located strategically at ports throughout the country and managed in a stand-by status by MARAD. The RRF, when activated, is able within five-to-ten days, to transport equipment and supplies needed to support an initial military sealift of combat support equipment.

In addition, the RRF also supports emergency response during humanitarian crises, and disaster relief; generating power and fresh water, housing recovery workers, operating as command posts and delivering much needed equipment and supplies. Seven NDRF vessels are assigned to the state maritime schools and used for cadet training cruises.

The links on the left provide additional information about these vessels and how they are used by the Maritime Administration to meet the nation’s transportation, security and energy challenges. 

Updated: Friday, December 14, 2018