Senators Kelly and Rubio, Representatives Waltz and Garamendi Release National Maritime Strategy Report

Today, Senator and 25-year Navy combat veteran Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Representative and combat-decorated Green Beret Mike Waltz (R-FL-6), along with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative John Garamendi (D-CA-8), released the bipartisan report entitled “Congressional Guidance for a National Maritime Strategy” that provides a comprehensive vision for planning guidance, strategic objectives, and actionable steps to revitalize the nation’s maritime sector.  

The legislators believe that, in an era of great power competition, aging infrastructure, and the threat of high intensity war, Congress must adopt a maritime strategy vital to U.S. national security and the world. Unfortunately, despite calls from Congress for the last decade, such a comprehensive strategy has yet to be produced.    

“After decades of neglect, revitalizing the American maritime industry will supercharge our economy and strengthen our national security,” said Sen. Kelly, a U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduate and Navy veteran. “Our bipartisan report provides a roadmap for the administration and Congress to work together to rebuild our shipbuilding sector and fortify the U.S.-flag fleet. It won’t be easy, but America has always been a maritime nation—and the stakes are too high for us to fail.”  

“The United States desperately needs to modernize its maritime capabilities to compete with China’s rapidly growing navy and ensure the freedom of international seas,” said Rep. Waltz. “I’m proud to work with my colleagues across the aisle to revitalize our shipping sector and strengthen our national security.”  

“As China vies for global influence, the United States must project strength and security in the maritime domain,” said Sen. Rubio. “Congress must act swiftly to adopt a maritime strategy that invests in our industrial base, reestablishes a strong workforce, and strengthens our national security.” 

“Congress and the U.S. military must rebuild our domestic commercial shipbuilding and maritime industrial base so we can continue to project American sea power abroad during peacetime or war,” said Rep. Garamendi. “American shipyards and mariners are ready, willing, and able to do the job but can no longer be expected to compete against heavily subsidized foreign competitors in mainland China and elsewhere. Our maritime strategy must support American manufacturing and correct our nation’s longstanding trade imbalance with foreign countries.”

You can read the full report here


This report highlights the urgent need for comprehensive action to counter the People’s Republic of China access to the ocean. It identifies maintaining access to the sea as a national security requirement and outlines a series of steps to ensure that capability—these include incentivizing U.S.-flagged shipping, restoring commercial shipbuilding capacity, and expanding the advanced maritime workforce required to build, operate, and maintain U.S. ships.   

Earlier this year, Sen. Kelly and Rep. Waltz led a bipartisan, bicameral letter urging President Biden to strengthen the United States’ maritime power. The group of legislators called on him to establish an interagency maritime policy director, designate maritime infrastructure as “critical infrastructure,” invoke the Defense Production Act for shipbuilding, and develop a whole-of-government maritime “de-risking” strategy to reduce dependency on Chinese maritime infrastructure and industry.     

Sen. Kelly earned his B.S. degree in marine engineering and nautical science from the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) and later an M.S. degree in aeronautical engineering from the United States Naval Postgraduate School. Sen. Kelly spent 25 years in the United States Navy as a pilot and is the first ever USMMA alumnus to serve in Congress. Last year, Sen. Kelly was elected chair of the USMMA Board of Visitors for the 118th Congress.