By a vote of 75-22, the U.S. Senate on May 10 confirmed Ann C. Phillips as Administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) within the Department of Transportation.
Phillips, a retired U.S. Navy rear admiral, replaces Lucinda Lessley, who has been serving as MARAD's acting administrator since January 20, 2021.
President Biden nominated Phillips for the role on October 14, 2021, and the Senate's Commerce Committee held hearings on her nomination on December 16. The nomination was returned to the President when it expired at the end of the year, and Biden re-sent it January 4. The committee favorably reported the nomination to the entire Senate floor on February 2.
Phillips served nearly 31 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy before retiring as a rear admiral. Her final Flag command was as commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Two, including 14 ships and 10 subordinate commands - all the Amphibious Expeditionary Forces on the U.S. East Coast. Earlier, she served on the Chief of Naval Operations' staff as Deputy Director and then Director of Surface Warfare Division, commissioned and commanded USS Mustin (DDG 89), and commanded Destroyer Squadron 28.
MARAD promotes the use of waterborne transportation and its integration with other segments of the transportation system, and the viability of the U.S. Merchant Marine. The agency works in many areas involving ships and shipping, shipbuilding, port operations, vessel operations, national security, environment and safety, and it is charged with maintaining the health of the merchant marine. MARAD also maintains the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) as a ready source of ships for use during national emergencies and logistically supporting the military when needed.
The American Maritime Partnership (AMP), a coalition of which American Maritime Officers Service is a member and which American Maritime Officers supports, applauded Phillips' confirmation by the Senate.
"The American Maritime Partnership congratulates Admiral Phillips on her confirmation to lead the Maritime Administration at a time when maintaining a strong American maritime is even more critical than ever," said Ku'uhaku Park, president of the American Maritime Partnership. "We look forward to working with Admiral Phillips to ensure our nation has the shipbuilding, sealift capacity, and reliable movement of commerce that is essential to America's security."