Retired Navy Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby was sworn in yesterday as the new head of the federal Maritime Administration by Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. A former commander of the Military Sealift Command, Buzby’s appointment is another in the Trump administration’s reliance on former military leaders to bring their experience to the federal government.
Buzby ran the MSC and its network of 120 ships supplying Department of Defense needs worldwide from October 2009 to March 2013, and after retirement served as president of the National Defense Transportation Association, a global association of transportation and logistics professionals.
“Our maritime industry is facing unprecedented challenges in our increasingly globalized world,” Chao said in a statement announcing Buzby’s arrival at Marad. “Administrator Buzby’s extensive naval and maritime background will serve as a tremendous asset to the Maritime Administration.”
The agency’s official mission according to the DOT is to promote "the use of waterborne transportation and its seamless integration with other segments of the transportation system; and the development and maintenance of an adequate, well-balanced U.S. merchant marine, sufficient to carry a substantial portion of the Nation’s waterborne commerce, and capable of service in time of war or national emergency.”
Marad also oversees the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y., an institution recently beset with challenges over sexual harassment complaints and accreditation issues. During her confirmation process in the Senate, Chao pledged to help the USMMA resolve those problems.
Buzby is himself a 1979 USMMA graduate, where he earned a degree in nautical science and Coast Guard third mate license. He is a graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College, and holds master’s degrees from the U.S. Naval War College and Salve Regina University in Strategic Studies and International Relations, respectively.
“I grew up on the water, piloting vessels from the time I was nine years old, and have a lifelong love for the sea,” said Buzby. “It is one of the great honors of my life to serve as Maritime Administrator, and to start working to grow and revitalize the U.S. Merchant Marine, and ensure our continues its maritime leadership.”
During his 34 years in the Navy, Buzby served on the staffs of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, the Navy staff, and the Joint Staff, before taking on the Military Sealift Command top spot prior to his 2013 retirement.
During his career, Buzby commanded the destroyer Carney (DDG 64), Destroyer Squadron Thirty-One, the Surface Warfare Officers School Command, and the Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay. As a junior officer, Buzby served on the frigate Connole (FF1056), hydrofoil Aries (PHM 5), cruiser Yorktown (CG 48), destroyer John Paul Jones (DDG 53) and cruiser Shiloh (CG 67), primarily in operations and combat systems billets.
His personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four awards), Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (five awards) and various other unit and campaign awards.