Military to Mariner (M2M) Initiative

"There have been more than 600 activations [of the Ready Reserve Fleet] since 1990…[w]e seek to ensure there are enough qualified U.S. mariners to safely crew our Government vessels when the need arise." Administrator Mark H. Buzby U.S. Maritime Administration, 2018

President Donald J. Trump signs Executive Order 13860 on March 4, 2019

President Donald J. Trump signs Executive Order 13860 on March 4, 2019. The President was joined by Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, Maritime Administrator Mark Buzby, Deputy Maritime Administrator Richard Balzano, CMTS Executive Director Helen Brohl, Active Duty Service Members, and Merchant Mariners.


The purpose of the CMTS Military to Mariner (M2M) Initiative is to help coordinate Federal efforts to facilitate the transition from military service to civilian employment in the U.S. Merchant Marine and/or other positions within the Marine Transportation System.


Military sea-service veterans have specialized training and experience needed by the United States Merchant Marine. Facilitating the transfer from military service to merchant mariner increases the number of qualified mariners needed to support our economy and national defense.

Integrated Action Team Leads

  • U.S. Maritime Administration
  • Military Sealift Command

Participating Agencies

  • Military Sealift Command
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Department of Defense (OSD)
  • U.S. Department of Labor (VETS)
  • U.S. Department of Transportation
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • U.S. Maritime Administration
  • U.S. Navy
  • U.S. Transportation Command
  • U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TWIC)

Activity and Milestones

  • March 2019: President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Order (EO) 13860 on Supporting the Transition of Active Duty Service Members and Military Veterans into the Merchant Marine. This EO brings attention to the vital importance of the U.S. Merchant Marine for national security, safety, and prosperity, and aims to more easily facilitate the transition of active duty service members into the U.S. maritime industry. For more information, please read FAQs developed by the CMTS Military to Mariner Task Force on this EO.
  • March 2018: Military to Mariner Webinar Series held throughout two days exploring and addressing such topics as Merchant Mariner Medical Certification with National Maritime Center, and Veterans Employment Resources Available to the Maritime Industry.
  • January 2017: CMTS contributed to USCG Proceedings edition (Jan - April 2017) about the Federal partnership in support of the Military to Mariner initiative.
  • November 2017: CMTS connected Federal partners to a new industry website ( to enhance information regarding Federal credentialing and veteran support services.
  • February 2017: The CMTS provided expertise and information to help the U.S. Maritime Administration form the Maritime Work Force Working Group (MWFWG). This group was created to identify the size of the pool of qualified U.S.-citizen mariners needed to support the U.S.-flag fleet in times of national emergency.
  • April 2015: A second CMTS Military to Mariner Federal Workshop featured an overview of VETS programs and services by Department of Labor Veterans Education and Training Service (VETS) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Teresa "Terry" Gerton. Additionally, John Schwartz, the Transportation Security Administration's Maritime Program Director for the Transportation Workers Identification Card (TWIC), gave a presentation on the TWIC program. The second CMTS Military to Mariner Federal Workshop included increased participation from the Navy Education and Training Command (NETC).
  • October 2014: During the CMTS Military to Mariner Federal Roundtable, participants discussed the challenges and identified opportunities for Federal collaboration to facilitate the Military to Mariner transition.
  • September 2014: The CMTS Coordinating Board approved the addition of a CMTS Military to Mariner Initiative to the CMTS Work Plan. The NEI Task Team established a process to monitor export container availability.

Military to Mariner Webinar Series

Merchant Mariner Medical Certification with National Maritime Center
Monday, March 12, 2018

The CMTS hosted, with the USCG National Maritime Center (NMC), a webinar on the Medical Certification process that is part of the Merchant Mariner credential. We had the unique opportunity of hearing from and asking questions of Captain Kirsten Martin, Commanding Officer of the NMC, and Dr. Laura Torres-Reyes, Medical Evaluations Division Chief at the NMC.

Please see the slides and audio recording for additional information. Questions on the Medical Certification and Merchant Mariner Credentialing Process can be directed towards 1-888-IASKNMC (1-888-427-5662) or to via an online chat function.

Veterans Employment Resources Available to the Maritime Industry
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The CMTS hosted, with the Department of Labor Veteran’s Employment and Training Service (VETS), on veteran employment resources available to the maritime industry. We had the opportunity to hear from Mr. Mark Toal, the National Veterans’ Employment Outreach Manager, about the plethora of Federal resources available to maritime employers who are looking to hire Veterans.

Please see the Employer Guide to Hiring Veterans, the slides, or audio recording to access the resources available from the webinar. If you have any questions on hiring veterans into your organization, please feel free to directly contact Mark Toal at


  • Navy COOL and Blueprint to Mariner

    COOL (Credentialing Opportunities On-Line) helps Navy Service members find information on certifications and licenses related to their jobs. COOL and the Blueprint to Mariner (updated in 2018) can be used to get background information on credentialing and provide step by step guidance to a merchant mariner credential.


    USCG COOL was launched in April 2019. Similar to Navy COOL, but specific to USCG service members, USCG COOL is a step by step resource mapping skills, training, and credentials needed to meet certain mariner qualifications, and even where GI Bill benefits can be used to meet those requirements. Potential credential funding may be available in 2020

  • contains a variety of employer resources that highlight the growing number of resources for companies wishing to hire and retain Veterans. There are links on where employers can post a job and receive one-on-one assistance from Regional Veterans' Employment Coordinators.

  • Maritime Workforce Working Group Report (MARAD)

    This report was developed by the Maritime Administration’s Maritime Workforce Working Group in consultation with MERPAC and the CMTS, and addresses questions asked regarding the availability of US mariners in times of national need, and evaluating the systems to train and document mariner availability.

  • Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) Program Overview and Services

    This presentation was developed by the CMTS and provides an overview of the VETS program and some of the related services. This includes information on training programs and places to find the training centers. Some of the links provided are for the American Job Centers, the VETS webpage, and the Veterans' Employment Center.

  • Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)

    "The Transportation Worker Identification Credential, also known as TWIC®, is required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act for workers who need access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime facilities and vessels. TSA conducts a security threat assessment (background check) to determine a person's eligibility and issues the credential. U.S. citizens and immigrants in certain immigration categories may apply for the credential. Most mariners licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard also require a credential. Regarding card usage and facility access requirements, please contact the U.S. Coast Guard."

  • U.S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center

    The National Maritime Center works to credential qualified mariners. This website provides checklists, scheduling for examinations, and specific resources for the transition from military to mariner.

  • is a resource developed by the American Maritime industry dedicated to helping veterans and active military find jobs in all facets of the maritime industry. CMTS members provided input into the Federal content of this site.

Related Files