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Establishing a National Center for Maritime Excellence at the USMMA

  • 23 May 2018
  • Author: Admin
  • Number of views: 8957

Maritime TV is pleased to present another segment in the Internet TV series known as "Conversations with Cartner", a regular video discussion on maritime industry issues of the day led by Shipmaster and Maritime Attorney, Dr. John A.C. Cartner along with participating industry professionals.

In this installment, Dr. Cartner is interviewed about establishing a National Center for Maritime Excellence at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y. A White Paper on this subject has just been released by Dr. Cartner which is also available at the link here

Thanks for watching Maritime TV!

The opinions expressed by Dr. John A.C. Cartner in the ‘Conversations with Cartner’ Video Series and accompanying blogs are the opinions of Dr. Cartner and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff and management of Maritime TV, or its parent network, TV Worldwide, Inc.

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1 comments on article "Establishing a National Center for Maritime Excellence at the USMMA"


Captain Steve

6/2/2018 4:16 AM









April 7, 2018

Dear Fellow and Honored Institutional Assessment Committee Members,

I challenge the Institutional Assessment Committee to address and, as deemed appropriate, endorse/take effective action to bring the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) Academy and the US Merchant Marine Industry into the 21st Century. Both entities are at a crossroads in US maritime history! It is a negative crossroad in the dwindling USMMA history, but also an opportunity for both to achieve excellence. I request this Committee “THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX” and disrupt our traditional thinking habits, capitalize on a vibrant

US shipping industry so we co-create a vision of the Academy’s and industry’s future and consider how this Institutional Assessment five-year focus can dovetail into a more effective and consistent twenty-year plan horizon for both entities. While the focus of this committee is a Five-Year Plan, it can also be an opportunity to address USMMA against a backdrop of the woes of the US Maritime Industry. I counsel “voyage over the “Edge of The World” in a flexible twenty-year plan with Five-year increments. To bring back the US Merchant Marine Industry, more than just five, ten, fifteen or twenty years of efforts and resources are necessary to stay on course thru five foreseen federal administrations. The US maritime industry has fallen into neglect for more than twenty years; hence, I opine that, and a flexible twenty-year committee will provide a more efficient and effective horizon in the achievement of our lofty goals of the USMMA Institution and the US Merchant Marine Industry.

While the Committee is directed to prepare recommendations for the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, I, as a Kings Pointer, maintain and summarily assess that the extent of necessary actions to “set the course for USMMA’s vibrant future” requires a twenty-year vision. My counsel to Committee will focus on the requested Strategic Plan, but my counsel will also reflect future five-year increment plans in preparation for the continued preservation of this Committee’s directions and provide a “rolling-plan” with a twenty year horizon.

As the Institutional Assessment Committee goes forward, to open the minds of the present and the wallets of the future, I share and counsel the words Tolstoy for all members:

To initiate the efforts of Institutional Assessment Committee, I offer a Compass that has guided my USMMA passion and personal decision-making over all my life as far back as a young Cadet going thru Kings Point’s Vickery Gate.



































a directed Five-Year Strategic Plan 2018-2023 for USMMA versus the opportunities of a Twenty-Year Horizon for the US Merchant Marine Industry.

As an Institutional Assessment Committee member, I am because the Committee LACKS THE SKILLS and information derivable from outside, independent, unbiased counsel and data of outside professionals that cleanse and eradicate internal bias of rice bowls at the expense of Kings Point and the US Maritime Industry.

As an Institutional Assessment Committee member, I am concerned that because the Committee and staff and Tenured

Faculty, constrained by federal restraints, Federal regulations and civil service “protection” constraints all LACK THE INCENTIVES to excel, to

grow/improve/progress and pare the “DEADWOOD” of “RETIRED” Faculty teaching with twenty-five years of “just teaching” the same courses with no progress, no current industry experience, no research and no publishing ……etc. DEADWOOD that is impeding; unlike the rotational assignments of other Federal Academy Faculty and staff.

As an Institutional Assessment Committee Member, I am because of the LACK THE RESOURCES to contract appropriate independent third party professionals to “TRAIN THE TRAINERS”, CONDUCT FACULTY AND COURSES EVALUATIONS / ALIGNMENT WITH INSTITUTIONAL GOALS AND

OBJECTIVES, Contract Collection of data and produce decision-support information for the Institutional Assessment Committee.

As an Institutional Assessment Committee Member, I am concerned about because a clear Action Plan to develop the Five-Year Plan is Lacking.

I counsel the Committee, in order to make informed decisions, one first requires data and numbers, thence an independent 3rd party Assessor to “assess” the numbers and convert the data into usable decision-support information to guide and support the Decision-Make


Strategic Planning Team Preparation Phase:





• 4 weeks minimum

• Voluntary

• Non-Academic

• Executable after Graduation with stipend, if unemployed

• Review, Analyze and Report on SHIPYARD Time QUALIFING Cadet Sea Yeartime for both DECK AND ENGINE CADETS

• Request USMMA Department of Professional Development and Career Services review, evaluate and report on INTERNSHIP PROGRAM (FOIA if necessary) Statistics from the past five years in order for the Strategic Planning Committee Report to contain recommendations based on informed decision -making decisions. o

o By Year subdivided by Deck and Engine

o stats on Cadets, o Cadet name & home address o Where Interned & how long o Copies of Cadet Reports on Intern Company o Copies of Intern Companies Reports on Cadets o Copies of Dean’s Information/files and similar documentation justifying awarding Academic Credits on Internship

• Request USMMA Department of Professional Development and Career Services review, evaluate and report on Louisiana

“APPROVED COMPANIES” and Contact Large Offshore Service Companies for inclusion in the INTERNSHIP Program and the SEA YEAR Program.

o There are approximately 200+ US Flagged Vessels

o There are approximately 2000 OFFSHORE SERVICE VESSELS in the Gulf of Mexico of which approximately 1000+ are operating OFFSHORE SERVICE VESSELS servicing the approximately 1000 Offshore Oil platforms of the Gulf:

• Request USMMA-AAF review, evaluate and report statistics on Internship postings and benefits derived from “AAF website Job Postings at: CURRENT:

Internship - Marine Engineering


Internship - Marine Transportation


• Request AND USMMA-AAF review, evaluate and report on expanding the NON-


Alumni who have graduated in the past year (i.e.: unemployed Grads to make the industry connections and earn some supplemental Income in a time of need while looking for a maritime job)

• SEEK USCG approval for Shipyard days for both Deck and Engine Cadets as satisfying Sea Year days

Maritime Company senior management must be responsively involved with Cadets to ensure effective Sea Year and Internship experiences. Design a program with reward and motivation (tax reform, etc.) to integrate industry senior maritime management into Sea Year and Internship oversight. Get them to make time and have responsibility and accountability. The world of multi-discipline and motivated senior management need to “get involved”. Based on my leadership and start up experience of the Texas A & M at Galveston (TAMUG) Marine Transportation Internship Program, coupled with my senior management oversight of all Interns and Sea Year Cadets at the Falcon Fleet, I recommend, the USMMA Internship Program be removed from the Academic curriculum. Free up the needed credit hours and reduce associated staffing & admin. costs. The minimum time requirement to obtain any internship benefit should be four weeks. Less than four weeks is a waste of my, and my company’s, time, money and effort.

Hence, I never approved two weeks Internships. The motivated Cadets that want to be a “Captain of Industry” will obtain an Internship and obtain them for four weeks. Non-participation by those uninterested Cadets will reduce the stress on and the associated overhead and the maritime industry. Re-directing the saved federal dollars to those interested Cadets will provide a much higher return on investment and return on Internship. Recommend the statistics of past Internships be analyzed to identify Internship program improvement. USMMA Career Services personnel need to visit Maritime companies. Identify supportive companies. Train the senior management of the supportive companies. Remove the non-beneficial Internship companies. Do more than just “approve” the companies. Involve the Cadet in identifying beneficial companies and non-beneficial. Educate the interested Cadets regarding the importance and benefits and focus assets on those Cadets. If a Cadet does not want an Internship, do not force it as not only the Cadet, but the company will not enjoy the experience and evade opportunities for future Cadets.

Because of the proximity of the offshore industry, a number of the TAMUG voluntary Interns obtained their Dynamic Positioning Officer (DPO) USCG Certificate at industry expense. The TAMUG Cadets were also exposed to maritime office dynamics. Voluntary is a necessity for a Cadet to willingly and effectively have Internship experience that will influence their entire career. Many TAMUG graduates were hired by their DPO provider, DIAMOND DRILLING. The State Maritime Academies and Kings Point need to assess any similar/possible symbiotic relationships. It is now a time of integrated, systemic pipelines beneficial to all concerned stakeholders. Integrate relevant stakeholders. Educate and share the benefits. Reward the participants. Find those areas of overlap, confluence and goals. They are “out there”, but not identified.

One of the most significant functions of a AAF Chapter(s) is the support of current Cadets while they are transitioning from USMMA Cadet to a practicing mariner in the maritime world. This occurs when the Cadet begins their preparation to pursue their USMMA Internship experience. Internship is the most visible Maritime industry interaction between the Cadet and the Maritime/Management Industry. At this point in their Internship experience, The Cadet should seek the counsel of the USMMA Career Services Office and it’s ATF officers. ( Then visit the USMMAAF website in order to review the list of approved companies in accorded with the Internship policies and procedures of

USMMAA and USMMAAAF. Work with the ATR to determine a best fit experience. The ATR will counsel you that over the professional and personal life of a USMMA Cadet, the “pro and con” impact of the USMMA Cadet Internship Program pervades all levels of the Academy, MARAD, Maritime Industry, Alumni, Alumni Chapters, local Maritime Industry support/attitude/perceptions, future of future Graduates, etc. We each reflect on each other. Internship is the most critical aspect of a Cadet’s four-year Kings Point experience. The outcome of the program reflects in and on the industry and all USMMA Graduates present and future. Consider how USMMA Internship experiences can distinguish Kings Pont graduates from State schools and make your selection a distinguishing experience. Consider those Cadet’s that maximize the internship opportunity. Your fellow graduates appreciate and applaud thee. While current USMMA policy and academics requires mandatory internship participation. The voluntary and inspired internship participant is essential to a truly successful Intern and Internship Program. Experienced Graduates counsel the core value of any Internship experience are those “who want it and they will make it a successful experience.

However, even before graduation, the wiser Cadet’s will foresee that their Internship experience is their first portal into the true cadre and realm of professional Mariner’s. True professional Cadets will see their internship as the “coming of age” opportunity where they are executing their responsibilities’ as the true stakeholder in their future maritime career far beyond graduation day’s 3rd Mate/3rd Engineer level. The USMMA Cadet Internship is the capstone achievement of a Cadet’s four-year quest for a professional maritime career. As the Cadet’s exit Vickery Gate as educated, licensed and graduated Kings Pointers they are seeking portals to their professional maritime career. The local AAF Chapter can be one of the most significant support organizations standing by to assist you and your future. Within Internship policies and procedures Chapter members are standing by to counsel Cadet’s seeking local maritime industry opportunity and contacts.

Be assured a local active USMMA Cadet visit to an Alumni Chapter event is a highlight occasion. The Cadet is initiating his/her entrance into the Kings Point community that will uniquely network, support and bond with KP’rs all over the world for the rest of their life. Also, a wise local Chapter will regard and treat the visit of any guest Cadet as a recruiting opportunity for a future AAF member no matter where the future takes the Cadet. The quality of interaction between the Cadet and the Industry/ Management has the highest-high and the lowestlow experience spectrum for both the Cadet and the Industry. There are four possible outcomes” 1. GOOD: Happy/Professional Cadet better for the experience & Happy/Impressed Industry Manager

2. SO - SO: Cadet just “Okay” for the experience & Happy/Impressed Industry Manager

3. POOR: Cadet just “Okay” for the experience & Industry Manager just “Okay”

4. BAD: Cadet Beer Bash for the experience & Industry Manager disinterested & unimpressed


Stakeholders in the USMMA Internship Program.

1. The USMMA Cadet


a. The Career Services USMMA Internship Program (see


a. The AAF co-op Internship program (see

b. Jobs/Internship

c. How to Post Jobs/Internship

d. Approved Internship Companies

e. AAF Internship Program

4. AAF local Chapters

a. Bond with Cadet

b. Strengthened Local maritime involvement

c. Recruit future members

5. Local Approved Internship Companies

a. Have an opportunity to review potential employees and staff future positions


The AAF Chapter is encouraged to take up the challenge of being an active supportive participant in the USMMA Internship program.

1. Chapters generate new Internship opportunities through proactive Chapter local industry reach outs.

2. Four-way win/win/win/win benefits for Cadet, Industry, Alumni Chapter and AAF 3. AAF & Chapters seek supportive increased participation in the Internship Program 4. Critically important how Cadet Intern can impact industry & Alumni reputation.


1. USMMAAF & Chapters review, vet and purge all USAAF internship info on “APPROVED INTERNSHIP

COMPANIES” list on USMMA Careers Tab. Chapters should encourage/support industry to post internships 2. USAAF Chapter directs attention to the Cadet’s outstanding USAAF resource “CAREERS” On its website

3. Develop a Chapter Internship Officer:

a. A designated Chapter Member to interact with all local maritime Industry

b. Contact local maritime industry leaders

1 Present USMMA Info

2 Present the How/Why Intern Program Benefits

3 Identify and encourage aa local maritime industry Champion.

4 Follow up on the Internship experience with local maritime industry & Cadet

4. Assist the Interning Cadet

a. Assist finding lodging and transportation

b. Develop and distribute a Chapter “Welcome Kit” for the Cadet Intern

i. Maps

ii. Local Tourist info

The Cadet who understands, embraces and optimizes an Internship experience will be a better graduate who will go further in life.

I applied my Kings Point training, integrated with senior maritime industry fleet experience, to my ten years as Marine Transportation Department Head at Texas A& M University at Galveston (TAMUG) and became a valued and respected asset to almost 2,000 SEA AGGIE CADETS from whom I hear almost monthly. No USMMA Cadet ever wishes to revisit their first Sea Year Ship. Because of their inexperience with the operational aspects of vessel, KP Cadets are most likely to ”fail” on their first ship, but not from lack of want, but because the “first ship” is not a supervised transition from Kings Point to an operating commercial, unionized vessel. Of course, on their second Sea Year Ship, every Cadet is an expert sailor. Just ask them!

Upon accepting the position of Department Head at Texas A & M Marine Transportation Department, because of my “First Sea Year Ship” experience, I redesigned the TAMUG SEA SUMMER Training Cruise Program for interested Sea Aggie Cadets. The program required all 4th/3rd Class Cadets to sail on the Training Ship, SS TEXAS CLIPPER. This provided the necessary Licensed Officer guidance and support to protectively perform without embarrassment or shame. On a rewards and interest basis, those qualifying 3rd/2nd Class Cadets were authorized to pursue a maritime industry threemonth Cadet sailing position on a commercial vessel with a focused Sea Project of minimal paper that the Cadet marketed and arranged with MART Departmental support. On the 2nd/1st Class Cadet Summer Cruise, the Seniors operated (under supervision) the Training Ship and gained experience in leading and managing the underclassman and plebes. The product of the TAMUG MART program was a much-improved graduate with a 96% first license exam achievement (initially it was 50%) and nearly 100% employment in two months. Even though I am a Kings Pointer and a capable maritime professional, I support, based on the facts, this TAMUG program, as built, is a better program than the Kings Point “Throw them to the Wolves” approach. To this end, I support a Kings Point Training Ship to ease and enhance the first three months of a Cadet’s first vessel. Such an assessment would require the re-thinking and re-evaluation of Federal and

State Maritime Academy Vessel training and an integration of Federal and State Maritime programs…. involve the USCG, redesign the proposed school ships, etc., etc. Concurrently, because the State Academy School Ship graduates are not adequately prepared, operationally, to fit into a commercial, unionized vessel and are effectively being also “Thrown to the Wolves” when they graduate.

The Center of Maritime Excellence is the portal for the growth of USMMA and the US Maritime Industry. The Center will be the “Think Tank: 0f the USMMA and the Maritime Industry. The Center is positioned to assist the and the Cadets as a primary function of serving USMMA and the Cadets in the current focus on 2018-2023 Strategic Plan. By 2023, the Center could be well positioned

How does USMMA stay on the cutting edge of change to become and maintain the Center of Maritime Excellence? How do we anticipate needs and know what’s next?

Aggregate/Analyze/Design/Execute the data of all Advanced Degree Graduates appropriate to Maritime Industry, Businesses and peripheral support niches. Any potential “Captain of Industry” after graduation soon realizes how much they do not know! When Industry companies say manager, a KP Grad has No Statistics, No formal HR, No Economics, No Financials, and the list goes on. Every Kings Point Grad that realizes and achieved a second or third Master’s degree is a probable and potential Student for the Center of Maritime Excellence and any relevant Maritime studies: I.E. Higher License prep, EDCIS, Simulation, SOLAS, Fire School, and the list goes on….. Because of its specialty maritime, well paid industry, I opine that said maritime-relevant, advanced Degree students would have, if offered, studied at a Center of Maritime Excellence. The largest impediment to realizing the Center is the New York student boarding costs. I opine there is an opportunity for a cooperative USMMA/AAF/Center venture that if the AAF foundation operated a Grad School Housing Project the future Advanced Degrees would be non-federally funded, self-sustaining and student-funded. AAF could benefit. Such a venture could/would enhance Alumni bonding and improve contributions at a time of decreasing Grad Class sizes. It would be an AAF opportunity to re-invest in the future of Alumni careers. It would enhance Alumni bonding at a critical time. On three occasions, I berthed in Seaman’s Church for 4 -6 weeks to raise my license. USCG Master’s Unlimited was achieved in 4 years, 8 months from grad day. Those dollars could have gone to AAF, if the leadership and regulations had foresight to provide for obvious necessary upward mobility in a multidiscipline world. The academic Master Degree statistics of KP Advanced Grads subjects will be the compass of what needs to be done for the Center of Excellence. A start-up need is to collect data on KP Grad Master’s Degrees, analyze it and project how the Center for Maritime Excellence could/would/should meet the needs of those maritime graduates. The industry’s anticipated needs must be determined by MARAD and the Maritime Industry to define the products they will expect from the Center. If the Center of Maritime Excellence is built, Kings Pointers and maritime industry will attend. Make USMMA a University with advanced degrees, research, government projects and client/project contracts. The other federal academies have advanced degree programs.

A diagrammatic market analysis as depicted encapsulates and validate a twenty-year horizon exists for the Center of Maritime Excellence. I opine, with a Center for Maritime Excellence, someday there will be the formation of an all-encompassing “Virtual Maritime Educational Entity” that will embrace and interconnect all Maritime Academies and Faculties with total transitory opportunities for

Academies/Faculty/Cadets dove-tail with the Maritime Industry. Fallaciously, I foresee “One Big Happy Maritime Family”. This graphic is included in the hope to impel your Institutional Assessment Committee to develop your finding against a twenty-year standard with rolling five-year steps.

The Committee on USMMA Institutional Assessment or MARAD could/should create the Center of Maritime Excellence with a twenty- year horizon and/or USMMA Strategic Plan for ten years, not just five years. To illustrate multi-governmental agency needs and service of the potential Center of Maritime Excellence, I have professionally presented my post-USMMA grad skills to MARAD, USCG, NOAA, FEDERAL COURTS, etc. , etc. I opine the envisioned Center will be cost-justifiably serve such many sectors/Agencies of government.

3/9/2018 Virtual" Maritime University System Should Include the Union Schools

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Maritime TV 'Conversations with Cartner'
A weekly discussion on maritime industry issues of the day with Shipmaster and Maritime Lawyer, Dr. John A.C. Cartner.

The opinions expressed by Dr. John A.C. Cartner in the ‘Conversations with Cartner’ Video Series and accompanying blogs are the opinions of Dr. Cartner and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff and management of Maritime TV, or its parent network, TV Worldwide, Inc.

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