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§ 1744. National Defense Reserve Fleet

(a) Fleet components
The Secretary of Transportation shall maintain a National Defense Reserve Fleet, including any vessel assigned by the Secretary to the Ready Reserve Force component of the fleet, consisting of those vessels owned or acquired by the United States Government that the Secretary of Transportation, after consultation with the Secretary of the Navy, determines are of value for national defense purposes and that the Secretary of Transportation decides to place and maintain in the fleet.
(b) Permitted uses
Except as otherwise provided by law, a vessel in the fleet may be used—
(1) for an account of an agency of the United States Government in a period during which vessels may be requisitioned under chapter 563 of title 46; or
(2) on the request of the Secretary of Defense, and in accordance with memoranda of agreement between the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Defense, for—
(A) testing for readiness and suitability for mission performance;
(B) defense sealift functions for which other sealift assets are not reasonably available; and
(C) support of the deployment of the United States armed forces in a military contingency, for military contingency operations, or for civil contingency operations upon orders from the National Command Authority;
(3) for otherwise lawfully permitted storage or transportation of non-defense-related cargo as directed by the Secretary of Transportation with the concurrence of the Secretary of Defense;
(4) for training purposes to the extent authorized by the Secretary of Transportation with the concurrence of the Secretary of Defense;
(5) on a reimbursable basis, for charter to the government of any State, locality, or Territory of the United States, except that the prior consent of the Secretary of Defense for such use shall be required with respect to any vessel in the Ready Reserve Force or in the National Defense Reserve Fleet which is maintained in a retention status for the Department of Defense; or
(6) for civil contingency operations and Maritime Administration promotional and media events, in accordance with subsection (f).
(c) Ready Reserve Force management
(1) Minimum requirements
To ensure the readiness of vessels in the Ready Reserve Force component of the National Defense Reserve Fleet, the Secretary of Transportation shall, at a minimum—
(A) maintain all of the vessels in a manner that will enable each vessel to be activated within a period specified in plans for mobilization of the vessels;
(B) activate and conduct sea trials on each vessel at least once every 30 months;
(C) maintain in an enhanced activation status those vessels that are scheduled to be activated within 5 days;
(D) locate those vessels that are scheduled to be activated within 5 days near embarkation ports specified for those vessels; and
(E) notwithstanding section 2109 of title 46, United States Code, have each vessel inspected by the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to determine if the vessel meets the safety standards that would apply under part B of subtitle II of that title if the vessel were not a public vessel.
(2) Vessel managers
(A) Eligibility for contract
A person, including a shipyard, is eligible for a contract for the management of a vessel in the Ready Reserve Force if the Secretary determines, at a minimum, that the person has—
(i) experience in the operation of commercial-type vessels or public vessels owned by the United States Government; and
(ii) the management capability necessary to operate, maintain, and activate the vessel at a reasonable price.
(B) Contract requirement
The Secretary of Transportation shall include in each contract for the management of a vessel in the Ready Reserve Force a requirement that each seaman who performs services on any vessel covered by the contract hold the license or merchant mariner’s document that would be required under chapter 71 or chapter 73 of title 46, United States Code, for a seaman performing that service while operating the vessel if the vessel were not a public vessel.
(d) Applicability of limitations on overhaul, repair, and maintenance in foreign shipyards
(1) Application of limitation
The provisions of section 7310 of title 10, United States Code, shall apply to vessels specified in subsection (b), and to the Secretary of Transportation with respect to those vessels, in the same manner as those provisions apply to vessels specified in subsection (b) of such section, and to the Secretary of the Navy, respectively.
(2) Covered vessels
Vessels specified in this paragraph are vessels maintained by the Secretary of Transportation in support of the Department of Defense, including any vessel assigned by the Secretary of Transportation to the Ready Reserve Force that is owned by the United States.
(e) Exemption from tank vessel construction standards
Vessels in the National Defense Reserve Fleet are exempt from the provisions of section 3703a of title 46, United States Code.
(f) Use of NDRF vessels for civil contingency operations and promotional and media events
With the concurrence of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Transportation may allow the use of vessels in the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) for civil contingency operations requested by another Federal agency, and for Maritime Administration promotional and media events relating to demonstration projects and research and development supporting the Administration’s mission, if the Secretary of Transportation determines such use is in the best interest of the Government after considering the following factors:
(1) Availability
The availability of NDRF or Ready Reserve Force (RRF) resources and the impact of such use on NDRF and RRF mission support to the defense and homeland security requirements of the Government.
(2) Interference
Whether the such [1] use of vessels will support the mission of the Maritime Administration and not significantly interfere with NDRF vessel maintenance, repair, safety, readiness, and resource availability.
(3) Safety
Whether safety precautions will be taken, including indemnification of liability when applicable.
(4) Cost
Whether any costs incurred by such use will be funded as a reimbursable transaction between Federal agencies, as applicable.
(5) Other matters
Any other matters the Maritime Administrator considers appropriate.


[1] So in original.

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