Military Sealift Command: Who we are

Established as the Military Sea Transportation Service in 1949, MSC remains the leading provider of ocean transportation services and maritime solutions for the Department of Defense.

MSC is an integral and innovative part of the United States Navy. Every day our ships are spread around the globe, ready to meet any challenge to support our nation’s armed forces.

We have a unique command structure, reporting through three distinct chains of command: U.S. Fleet Forces Command (Norfolk, Va.), U.S. Transportation Command (Scott AFB, Ill.) and the assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (The Pentagon).

The command is entrusted with a lot of responsibility, and much of our business means a constant focus on operating forward on the world’s oceans. More than 80 percent of MSC’s workforce is at sea. Many of these – more than 5,500 people – are directly hired by MSC as government employees. These civil service mariners serve aboard government-owned ships in MSC’s Combat Logistics Force, supplying food, fuel, ammunition and other supplies to Navy ships at sea.

CIVMARs also serve aboard ships in our Service Support Program, which provides the Navy with towing, rescue and salvage, submarine support and cable laying and repair services. Other CIVMAR-crewed ships in the program function as a command and control platform, the Navy’s first afloat forward staging base (interim) and as floating medical facilities.

MSC maintains three additional active programs, which include a combination of government-owned ships and chartered vessels, crewed by civilian mariners working for private companies under contract to MSC. The first of these is our Special Mission Program, with ships that perform highly specialized services including oceanographic and hydrographic surveys, underwater surveillance and missile tracking, to name just a few.

Ships in the Prepositioning Program strategically place large quantities of military equipment and supplies in key ocean areas. In a crisis, those supplies can be rapidly transferred ashore.

Finally, the Sealift Program provides efficient and cost-effective ocean transportation for the Department of Defense and other federal agencies during peacetime and war. These chartered commercial ships brave some of the toughest conditions to deliver goods and fuel just about anywhere, even Antarctica!

The Navy truly is a global force for good, and MSC is proud to be a part of that tradition. When disasters strike in places like Haiti or Japan, our ships and crews are right there, ready to provide aid. During major maritime exercises like Bold Alligator 2012, MSC demonstrates readiness to hone our nation’s sea power and maintain its maritime heritage.

We are MSC, and we deliver!

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