Retired Admiral Nominated to Head MARAD

Retired Rear Adm. Ann Phillips
Retired Rear Adm. Ann Phillips.

Retired Rear Adm. Ann Phillips, who served nearly 31 years of active duty with the U.S. Navy, has been nominated by the Biden administration to serve as administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration within the Department of Transportation.

The White House announcement of her nomination lauded Phillips’ ability to coordinate federal, state, local and other partners to create equitable strategies to address rising waters and climate impact to government, maritime and other critical coastal infrastructure assets in Virginia. She has been serving as the first special assistant to the governor of Virginia for coastal adaptation and protection.

In that capacity, in mid-October, Phillips was building a collaborative approach to address the impact of coastal flooding across the commonwealth, including development of Virginia’s first coastal resilience master plan.

Online publication The Maritime Executive noted that if confirmed by the Senate that Phillips’ projects would include addressing alleged sexual misconduct involving a U.S. Merchant Marine Academy midshipman who was part of the academy’s Sea Year training program. The female cadet’s account of the incident included an alleged shipboard sexual assault by a senior officer on a Maersk Line Ltd. Vessel and alcohol abuse on the same vessel.The allegations included the contention that sexual misconduct and harassment are still widespread in the academy. Officials responded in November by suspending the Sea Year program. In addition, the Washington Post reported that Maersk suspended five sailors; meanwhile the line’s investigation continues.

Phillips’ final Navy assignment was commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2. Earlier she served on the chief of Naval Operations staff as deputy director, and then director of the Surface Warfare Division.

Her personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (two) and Meritorious Service Medal (three).