May 16, 2022

Volume XII, Number 136


May 16, 2022

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How Long Until Biden Nominates the MARAD Administrator?

As President-elect Biden begins assembling his new team, personnel decisions play an important role in what the next four years will look like for the maritime industry. As speculation begins to mount, a question we see regularly is how long it will take for the president to appoint a new head of the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD).

The short answer is not any time soon. If past is prologue, it will be many months before a new administrator is confirmed. In the chart below, we detail the nomination and confirmation timelines of the last six MARAD administrators during the first term of an incoming president:


Admiral Mark Buzby had the fastest confirmation in recent history, despite having to wait nearly nine months after the 2016 election to take command at MARAD.

The longest wait for a MARAD Administrator occurred during the first term of the Obama presidency. David Matsuda was formally nominated to the post more than a year after the 2008 election, and in the end wouldn’t be confirmed until nearly 600 days after the election.

It should be noted, that in addition to those listed, several MARAD administrators have navigated the nomination process in the second term of a presidency; including Paul “Chip” Jaenichen (2014), Sean Connaughton (2006), Clyde Hart (1998), and John Gaughan (1985).

The new MARAD administrator will have big shoes to fill in replacing Admiral Buzby, but despite a slow-developing process, the agencies maintain order and continuity at the staff level from top to bottom. But if history holds, don’t expect a rapid transition at MARAD.

Marad Nominee Timeline

Copyright 2022 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 325

About this Author

Mark Ruge, Federal Regulations Attorney, KL Gates Law Firm

Mark Ruge is a lawyer in the Public Policy and Law practice group at the global law firm K&L Gates, one of the largest policy groups in the United States. He focuses his practice on the federal government, representing clients on policy matters before Congress, administrative issues before the federal agencies/departments, and, occasionally, regulatory disputes in the federal courts. He is involved in a broad range of maritime issues and issues related to the Great Lakes states. 

A veteran of more than a decade as a staffer on Capitol Hill, Mr. Ruge serves as counsel to the...

Brody Garland Public Policy & Law K&L Gates Washington DC
Government Affairs Analyst

Brody Garland is a government affairs specialist in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. His practice focuses on transportation, infrastructure, and maritime policy issues. In his current capacity, he advises over 30 partners, associates, and policy practice professionals on legislative, regulatory, and political proceedings on client matters related to aviation, energy, infrastructure, maritime, telecommunications, trade, and transportation policies. His efforts have helped the K&L Gates policy team secure favorable bill language and millions of dollars in congressional appropriations...