DOT, DOD, and Marine Industry Work to Strengthen the Ready Reserve Force

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The Maritime Administration of the United States Department of Transportation (MARAD) announced on Friday that it has purchased two ships to continue the modernization of the Ready Reserve Force (RRF).

A subset of the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF), the RRF was founded to support U.S. military deployments while supporting natural disaster relief and sailor training. MARAD is in its 76th year of maintaining the National Sealift Vessel Reserve.

“The Ready Reserve Force is a vital part of the national security of the United States,” said U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We are proud to use this innovative method to more quickly acquire two additional ships and ensure the U.S. Ready Reserve Fleet is always ready to answer the call.”

The two ships, HONOR and FREEDOM, join the US fleet as Cape Arundel and Cape Cortes and added over 432,000 square feet of sealift capacity and 316,000 square feet of military cargo capacity. The ships have previously transported military cargo and participated in the Maritime Security Program (MSP). Both vessels replace older vessels retired in fiscal year 2022 and will be owned by the US DOT.

“We have selected these ships to continue the recapitalization of the RRF because each meets the criteria set out in the National Defense Authorization Act and provides a standard set of capabilities that we have identified with the U.S. Navy, Military Sealift Command and US Transportation Command,” the acting administrator said. Lucinda Lessley. “These vessels will provide reliable sealift capability for years to come.”

The vessels were procured using a Vessel Acquisition Manager (VAM) that integrates MARAD and Naval Sea Systems Command members and leverages commercial practices. The partnership with VAM allows the Departments of Transport and Defense to partner more effectively with industry to quickly replace aging shipping vessels with newer vessels that will meet national security requirements.