On October 8, 1996, the President signed the Maritime Security Act of 1996 establishing the Maritime Security Program (MSP) for Fiscal Years (FY) 1996 through 2005. On November 24, 2003, the President signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Years 2004, which contained the Maritime Security Act of 2003 reauthorizing the Maritime Security Program for Fiscal Years 2006 through Fiscal Years 2015. On January 2, 2013, the President signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (H.R. 4310) extending the current Maritime Security Program to Fiscal Years 2016 through Fiscal Years 2025. Section 3508 of the National Defense Authorization Act authorized the Secretary of Transportation to extend existing Maritime Security Program operating agreements through September 30, 2025.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 requires that the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to establish a fleet of active, commercially viable, militarily useful, privately-owned vessels to meet national defense and other security requirements. All Maritime Security Program operating agreements are currently filled by 60 ships. In the event that an operating agreement should become available, the Maritime Administration would publish a notice in the Federal Register requesting applicants. A copy of the Maritime Security Program application is listed below. Participating operators are required to make their ships and commercial transportation resources available upon request by the Secretary of Defense during times of war or national emergency.
The Maritime Security Program maintains a modern U.S-flag fleet providing military access to vessels and vessel capacity, as well as a total global, intermodal transportation network. This network includes not only vessels, but logistics management services, infrastructure, terminals facilities and U.S. citizen merchant mariners to crew the government owned/controlled and commercial fleets.