The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD) is responsible for improving the U.S. marine transportation system to meet the Nation’s economic, environmental, and security needs. As part of its broad mission, MARAD oversees the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA)—one of five Federal service academies—which is tasked with educating and graduating licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces to serve America’s maritime transportation and defense needs.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 directed the Secretary of Transportation to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to conduct an independent, comprehensive assessment of USMMA systems, training, facilities, infrastructure, information technology and stakeholder engagement. The assessment, issued in November 2021, also identified needs and opportunities for the Academy’s modernization and contained 67 recommendations. The NDAA for fiscal year 2023 directs us to audit MARAD’s actions to address 24 of NAPA’s 67 recommendations. These 24 recommendations relate to areas such as USMMA’s facilities and infrastructure, institutional culture and supportive learning environment, and sexual assault and sexual harassment policies and programs. Accordingly, we are initiating this audit to assess MARAD’s actions to address the 24 recommendations from NAPA’s 2021 report specified by Congress.