Naval War College Review


The epigraphs that open this article are but three of a vast number of quotes from U.S. presidents, members of Congress, and military leaders calling for support of a U.S.-flag merchant marine.1 Throughout American history, dozens of laws have been proposed and passed that have, in varying degrees, supported the operation of U.S.-flag ships in both coastal and international trade; no law ever passed has called for a reduction in or the elimination of U.S.-flag ships. And yet, despite periods of great growth at various times in U.S. history, the U.S. Merchant Marine, once again, is in serious decline today.