U.S. Lawmakers Rally for Maritime Power Amid Global Pressures

In an unprecedented move, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers, spearheaded by Congressman Mike Waltz (FL-06) and Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ), have called President Biden, urging a robust enhancement of the nation’s maritime power. This appeal comes at a crucial juncture, as global maritime dynamics undergo significant shifts. In particular, China’s expanding influence poses a strategic challenge, especially in the South China Sea. As maritime personal injury attorneys, we find this proposed investment vital to the health of the industry, and the safety of its workers.

The Letter: A Call to Action

The letter highlights the United States’ arrival at an “inflection point” in international maritime affairs. The rapid expansion of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the maritime domain, coupled with escalating threats such as the Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, are urgently concerning.

Proposed Measures for Maritime Fortification

To counter these growing challenges, the 17 lawmakers have laid out a comprehensive plan for President Biden. Key proposals include:

  1. Establishment of an Interagency Maritime Policy Director: This position would streamline and oversee U.S. maritime policies and strategies.
  2. Classifying Maritime Infrastructure as Critical Infrastructure: This would ensure higher security and investment in maritime assets.
  3. Invocation of the Defense Production Act for Shipbuilding: To rapidly enhance the U.S. shipbuilding capabilities, leveraging the DPA is seen as a crucial step.
  4. Developing a Strategy to Decrease Dependency on Chinese Maritime Infrastructure: This strategy aims to mitigate risks associated with reliance on Chinese maritime assets and industry.


These lawmakers are very clear about the current condition of the U.S. maritime infrastructure. Despite once being a global leader in shipbuilding, the U.S. now faces the challenge of aging naval and commercial shipyards. The decline of the U.S. flagged international trading fleet, attributed to underinvestment in the Merchant Marine and maritime workforce, is a point of significant concern.

However, revitalizing American shipbuilding and shipping industries is no small feat after years of neglect. The lawmakers stressed the need for immediate action to rejuvenate American and allied maritime power, cautioning that any delay could be costly in terms of strategic and economic impact.

Beyond the Navy: A National Focus

While acknowledging the Secretary of the Navy’s efforts in establishing a “Maritime Statecraft” strategy, the letter emphasizes that countering strategic competitors in the maritime domain demands a national focus. It calls for Presidential attention, resources, and Congressional support to effectively “de-risk” U.S. maritime interests.

A Broad Coalition for Maritime Security

The bipartisan nature of this initiative is evident in its diverse signatories, including John Boozman (R-AR), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Rick Scott (R-FL), as well as Representatives James R. Baird (R-IN-4), Jack Bergman (R-MI-1), Byron Donalds (R-FL-19), Neal P. Dunn (R-FL-2), Brad Finstad (R-MN-1), C. Scott Franklin (R-FL18), John Garamendi (D-CA-8), Nick LaLota (R-NY-1), Doug Lamborn (R-CO-5), Richard McCormick (R-GA-6), James C. Moylan (R-GU- District At Large), and John H. Rutherford (R-FL-5), reflecting a unified stance on maritime security.

This letter not only underscores the current vulnerabilities of the U.S. maritime sector, but also rallies support for a concerted national effort to enhance maritime power. In an era where global maritime dynamics are rapidly evolving, this bipartisan initiative could be a pivotal step in reinforcing the United States’ maritime power. The response of the Biden administration to this call to action remains eagerly anticipated.

We at the Herd Law Firm are proud to fight for maritime workers and passengers in all types of personal injury claims. We will never waver in our commitment to help these maritime workers and their families when they are killed or injured.


Read the letter here.

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