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PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD

JULY 16, 2002

STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DUNCAN HUNTER BEFORE

THE SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON THE MERCHANT MARINE

HEARING ON U.S OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL OF VESSELS

OPERATING IN THE MARITIME SECURITY PROGRAM

JULY 16, 2002

I would first like to welcome the witnesses that are scheduled to

appear before us today. I recognize we have a lot to cover, so my opening

remarks will be brief.

Although we have some time before the current Maritime Security

Program expires, the panel wanted to get started now with the hope that we

can get something enacted well before the current expiration date in 2005. I

understand that getting agreement among all the disparate interests will be

difficult and also understand that paying for a new program will be equally

challenging. What I hope the panel will do is work through each of the

difficult issues—with a goal of getting agreement on a consensus package

that we can all unite behind. It is clear to me at this point that we will not be

able to satisfy each and every desire.

This is the first of what I hope will be several additional hearings

relating to the maritime security program. The next hearing will address

issues relating to commercial shipbuilding and the MSP program. I hope

that hearing will also address additional incentive programs—such as needed

changes to our tax laws. We may also need to hear from other

components—such as the bulk operators.

Before we proceed to markup, I believe the panel will need to hear

from those within the government who set the requirements for commercial

reserve sealift capability. Accordingly, I will invite the head of the

Transportation Command, General Handy, to testify. We all know that if we

do not get his support for the key elements that reauthorization of MSP will

be very difficult. Quite frankly, I think these two gentlemen recognize that

we are not just getting access to ships in the Maritime Security Program but

also the infrastructure that goes with them. We need to hear the importance

of that part of the package.

Finally, after we build the record, I want to get the Administration

before this panel to hear their view, get their support and—most

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