Biden Nominates Rear Adm. Ann Phillips As Head Of MarAd

President Joe Biden has nominated Rear Adm. Ann Phillips to be the next administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration. Phillips served 31 years in the U.S. Navy and currently serves as the first special assistant to the governor of Virginia for coastal adaptation and protection. 

The position of administrator has been vacant since MarAd Administrator Mark Buzby, a retired rear admiral himself, resigned January 11. 

According to her official biography, Phillips, a native of Annapolis, Md., graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received her commission through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps in 1983. She also holds an MBA.

Phillips has extensive operational experience on Navy battleships. After commissioning, she served aboard the USS Lexington as 1st division officer, assistant damage control assistant and repair division officer; she then reported to the USS Jason as navigator. She served in various roles on a number of battleships, being deployed twice in support of Operation Desert Storm. 

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For her first shore assignment, Phillips served as a department head instructor at Surface Warfare Officers School Command, Newport, R.I. After further sea service as a flag secretary with a task force, her next assignment was as executive officer on board the USS Kinkaid, and from there she reported to the staff of the chief of Naval Operations, serving as an action officer in the Surface Warfare Division, DD 21 Program. Her most recent assignment was commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Two.

Phillips’ personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards) and other service and campaign ribbons. She was head of the Navy’s Climate Change Task Force and is a consultant on climate security issues. She was chairman of a local government Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience project. 

MarAd was formed in 1950 to take over many of the regulatory responsibilities of the recently dissolved United States Maritime Commission, founded in 1936. In 1961, MarAd expanded its scope of duties by assuming control of subsidy for the construction of merchant ships, a task previously managed by the United States Federal Maritime Board (1950-1961). 

MarAd became an official administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation in 1981, and it has remained under the oversight of this federal cabinet department ever since.