Challenges facing the U.S. Flag: Revitalizing the U.S. Merchant Fleet through a shift in national focus

Despite the history of a strong and prosperous U.S. maritime industry, today’s U.S. merchant fleet is characterized by inadequacy. Through dwindling numbers as a result of mismanaged legislation as well as shifting global politics, U.S. maritime policy has failed to maintain adequate means of supporting a national fleet. Even with the obvious benefits to the national economy, international political power, and national security, the U.S. government is seemingly unable to overcome internal politics and provide the nation with a strong merchant marine. Ultimately, when the question about what became of the U.S. merchant marine is posed, the answer is that it was essentially turned over to the rest of the world. Without any meaningful change, the U.S. fleet will at best retain its current 2nd rate position in the international maritime community, while at worst it will be left to continue to slowly become irrelevant to the same community that it once ruled.