The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is the agency within the US Department of Transportation that oversees waterborne transportation. Its programs promote the use of waterborne transportation and its seamless integration with other segments of the transportation system. MARAD works in many areas involving ships and shipping, shipbuilding, port operations, vessel operations, national security, environment, and safety. MARAD is also charged with maintaining the health and viability of the merchant marine, since commercial mariners, vessels, and intermodal facilities are vital for supporting national security. (1)
Rear Admiral Mark "Buz" Buzby, USN (Ret.), Administrator of the Maritime Administration, is approaching the end of his first year in this position. He is committed to finding ways to enhance cargo opportunities, while also building the US flag fleet. Currently, he is focused on promoting the development and maintenance of an adequate, well-balanced United States merchant marine, sufficient to carry the Nation's domestic waterborne commerce and a substantial portion of its foreign waterborne commerce, and capable of service as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency.
The current state of MARAD is of great concern to Buzby. In the following interview, he highlights his concerns, discusses developing MARAD's functionality and kick-starting its strategic initiatives. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
DTJ: Thank you for taking time to sit and talk with us today. It only takes about five minutes observing you to completely understand your love for the maritime industry, can you tell us where it all started and what keeps your head and heart attached to the sea?
Administrator Buzby: When I was 14 years old, I put on my very first set of dress blues; I've known no other life. It has been my center for as long as I can remember. As I think about my life, I wouldn't have chosen to be anywhere else. I often think of what I would tell the future generations of young men or women considering the maritime career field. It is an opportunity to make a meaningful, significant contribution to the service of their nation. It will put them in touch with natural elements at sea. It allows a great deal of pride in their ability and candidly their inability to do it. They will be entrusted with large machinery and sailors who depend on them. It requires a methodical process, that requires patience and trust. It demands that a sailor knows the ship well and be alert to when she is not operating appropriately. In fact...