Messages from Leadership

Anthony Foxx

Anthony Foxx

U.S. Department of Transportation

As U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Foxx leads an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget that oversees air, maritime, and surface transportation. His primary goal is to ensure that America maintains the safest, most efficient transportation system in the world.

Foxx joined the U.S. Department of Transportation after serving as the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, from 2009 to 2013. During that time, he made efficient and innovative transportation investments the centerpiece of Charlotte's job creation and economic recovery efforts. These investments included extending the LYNX light rail system, the largest capital project ever undertaken by the city, which will build new roads, bridges, transit as well as bicycle and pedestrian facilities; expanding Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, the sixth busiest airport in the world; working with North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue to accelerate the I-485 outer belt loop using a creative design-build-finance approach, the first major project of its kind in North Carolina; and starting the Charlotte Streetcar project.

Prior to being elected mayor, Foxx served two terms on the Charlotte City Council as an At-Large Representative. As a Council Member, Foxx chaired the Transportation Committee, where he helped shepherd the largest transportation bond package in the city’s history, enabling Charlotte to take advantage of record low interest rates and favorable construction pricing to stretch city dollars beyond initial projections. Foxx also chaired the Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Foxx is an attorney and has spent much of his career in private practice. He also worked as a law clerk for the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and staff counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary.

Foxx received a law degree from New York University’s School of Law as a Root-Tilden Scholar, the University’s prestigious public service scholarship. He earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Davidson College.

Foxx and his wife, Samara, have two children, Hillary and Zachary.

Paul F. Thomas, Rear Admiral, USCG

Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy

It is an honor to represent the Secretary of Homeland Security while fulfilling my duties as the Chair of the Coordinating Board of the U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS). For over 200 years, the Coast Guard has ensured the safety, security, and environmental protection of the waterways and users that make up our nation’s Marine Transportation System (MTS). Throughout my Coast Guard career, I have worked closely with our Federal partners and state and local government representatives, tribal leaders, and industry and maritime professionals to execute our mission. Secretary Johnson and the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral Paul Zukunft, are keenly aware of the importance and value of the MTS to our national economy.

The MTS is a critical component of the Nation’s supply chain and a vital lifeline for the U.S. economy. It supports millions of American jobs and contributes to $4.6 trillion of economic activity (2014). Today, the MTS faces challenges that include a changing climate, increased port congestion and infrastructure needs, which are accompanied by greater demand for safe and efficient movement of people and goods. At the same time, rapidly changing conditions in the Arctic, and increased maritime transportation and commerce in the region present new opportunities, but also environmental threats.

The CMTS is committed to ensuring that the MTS meets the present and future needs of our nation. We are an interagency policy-coordinating committee charged with assessing the adequacy of the MTS, promoting integration of the MTS with other modes of transportation, and addressing Federal policies that impact the system. Since 2008, and with the publication of the National Strategy for the MTS: A Framework for Action, our interagency collaboration has made great strides towards a safer, more secure, environmentally friendly, and efficient MTS.

I look forward to working with the many professionals of the CMTS Coordinating Board to address important MTS challenges. My goals for this year are to (1) complete the MTS Assessment Report to Congress, (2) immediately capitalize on the results of the MTS Assessment in order to make substantial progress on the next National Strategy for the MTS, and (3) refine the cross section of Interagency Action Teams, Task Teams, and Work Groups to ensure we are focusing limited resources on the most critical items. I also want to ensure we leverage opportunities to increase awareness of the value of the MTS to our leaders, partners, and the public we serve.

Rear Admiral Paul Thomas serves as the Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, overseeing three Coast Guard directorates—Inspections and Compliance, Marine Transportation Systems, and Commercial Regulations and Standards. The programs under his leadership include waterways management, navigation and boating safety, ports and facilities, merchant mariner credentialing, vessel documentation, marine casualty investigation, commercial vessel inspections, and port state control.

A specialist in Marine Safety, Security, and Environmental Protection he has served at the Marine Safety Center in Washington, DC; Marine Safety Office San Francisco Bay, CA; Marine Safety Detachment Port Canaveral, FL; and Marine Safety Office Jacksonville, FL. He has also served as Commanding Officer of Marine Safety Unit Galveston, TX; Commander Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, FL; and Director of Inspections and Compliance at Coast Guard Headquarters.

His other tours include Fifth Coast Guard District Chief of Staff, Executive Assistant to the Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship, Military Assistant to the Director of Net Assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Commanding Officer in USCGC CAPE ROMAIN, and Operations Officer in USCGC BLACKHAW.

Rear Admiral Thomas is a graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2005 he completed a National Security Fellowship at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and in 2010 he served as a Senior Fellow to the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group (SSG XXIX). His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal, Transportation 9/11 Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and Coast Guard Achievement Medal.

Helen Brohl

Helen Brohl

Executive Director
U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System

In July 2015, the modern CMTS celebrated ten years of operation! It has been my pleasure to have originated the position of Executive Director and to have worked with a cadre of extraordinary Federal leaders and subject matter experts. In the early years, we spent a lot of time establishing day-to-day operations and working to institutionalize the value of Federal agency participation in support of the Marine Transportation System (MTS). Developing and adopting the first-ever National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System in 2008 was a significant Partnership milestone that set the stage for many other meaningful agreements and activities. Other accomplishments have included the Strategic Action Plan for Research and Development in the Marine Transportation System, the e-Navigation Strategic Action Plan, and the U.S. Arctic Marine Transportation System recommendation reports to the White House, including the 2015 “Ten Year Projection of Maritime Activity in the U.S. Arctic.”

The CMTS and the Transportation Research Board have co-sponsored three MTS research and development conferences. We hope the MTS stakeholders will join for the next conference, which will held in June 2016. We were extremely pleased and honored to be recognized by the National Economic Council for the CMTS Federal Funding Handbook: Marine Transportation System Infrastructure. This report was recently updated with more than 80 different Federal funding opportunities for the MTS and will support the White House Build America Initiative.

Please visit the CMTS site often for new and improved products and share your ideas for ways in which we can meet your Federal-related interests.

The CMTS is an extraordinary Federal interagency partnership of over 25 active members, including White House offices, and as the organization grows in value, so does its membership. We remain indebted to the dedicated agency members who provide expertise and resources to the Executive Secretariat and CMTS activities.

The CMTS is a Federal interagency coordinating committee directed by Congress and charter to improve the coordination of and make recommendations with regard to Federal policies that impact the MTS.