Maritime Security Program (MSP)

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 FY 2004, which contained the Maritime Security Act of 2003 reauthorizing the MSP for FY 2006 through FY 2015. On January 2, 2013, the President signed the NDAA of 2013 (H.R. 4310) extending the current MSP to FY 2016 through FY 2025. Section 3508 of the NDAA authorized the Secretary of Transportation to extend existing MSP operating agreements through September 30, 2025.

The NDAA 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 MSP 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 MSP 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 MSP 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.


Office of Sealift Support
202-493-2180 (fax)