Trump nominates retired Admiral Buzby to be MARAD Administrator
by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council, June 22, 2017
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, issued on June 21, 2017, a press release, “President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts,” which among other personnel matters announced the nomination of retired Admiral Mark H. Buzby to be Administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD).
The U.S. Maritime Administration, formed in 1950, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) charged with promoting domestic and international waterborne transportation. It’s budget for fiscal year 2016 was $407 million. MARAD administrates many of the federal subsidy programs for the U.S. flag maritime industry including: Federal Ship Financing Program popularly known as “Title XI”; Capital Construction Fund (CCF); Construction Reserve Fund (CRF); Maritime Security Program (MSP); America’s Marine Highway Program; Small Shipyard Grants; and, Grant-in-Aid Program for six state-operated maritime academies. MARAD directly operates: the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York; and, the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF). MARAD makes determinations in respect of the cargo preference programs and Jones Act (coastwise) eligibility for vessels.
Admiral Buzby is a graduate of the Merchant Marine Academy and retired in 2013 from the U.S. Navy after 34-years of service. His nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
The MARAD Administrator has an important role in setting Jones Act cabotage and related policy matters. However, at this time, there is nothing in the public record that would indicate Admiral Buzby’s views on national maritime policy.
Several graduates of the federal and state merchant marine academies have expressed support for conformation Admiral Buzby because of his attendance at Kings Point and their hope that he would be more effective in his support for the academies.
The previous MARAD Administrator was Paul “Chip” Jaenichen who nominated by President Barak H Obama and resigned in December 2016. Jaenichen graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and had a 30-year career as a Naval officer on submarines retiring in May 2012. After leaving MARAD, Jaenichen was hired as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at HMS Global Maritime, Inc, owner and operator of the American Queen Steamboat Company and 85 other U.S. flag vessels.
Mark H. Buzby of Virginia to be Administrator of the Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation. Rear Admiral Buzby is a retired Navy Rear Admiral whose career spanned 34 years, serving in at sea billets, primarily in cruisers and destroyers. He commanded the USS CARNEY (DDG 64), Destroyer Squadron Thirty-One, Surface Warfare Officers School Command, Joint Task Force Guantanamo, and the Military Sealift Command.
He also held key positions on the Navy Staff, the Joint Staff, and several fleet staffs. He is a recipient of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star, and numerous other personal and unit awards. Buzby is a 1975 graduate of Admiral Farragut Academy, and a 1979 graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He holds Masters degrees from the U.S. Naval War College and Salve Regina University.
Rear Admiral Buzby currently serves as President and CEO of the National Defense Transportation Association, and sits on the boards of several maritime industry related corporations. He and his wife Gina reside in Norfolk, Virginia.