Rear-Admiral-Greene, USMMA SuperintendentDepartment Of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today the appointment of Rear Admiral Philip H. Greene, Jr. to be the Department of Transportation Chair at the National Defense University. The move will require Rear Admiral Greene’s resignation as Superintendent, United States Merchant Marine Academy (King’s Point).

Greene has held the position of Superintendent for just over one year, having been appointed to head the Academy in September 2010 after a Government Accountability Office report of financial mismanagement led to the dismissal of the previous superintendent, Rear Admiral Allen B. Worley.

Details of the Admiral’s departure are scarce, but a source within the Academy tells gCaptain that the Admiral has been increasingly frustrated by tight government oversight and tensions have built between him and the administration. The Academy is funded by the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the state of that organization may provide clues about Greene’s departure.

As the head of MARAD from 2006 until early 2009, Sean Connaughton, provided strong leadership to both MARAD and the Academy. An alumnus himself, Connaughton was seen as a vocal advocate of maritime education and won numerous awards for his role including the Propeller Club of the United States’ “Maritime Person of the Year,” and an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.  As a Republican nominee to the position however, Connaughton resigned in early 2009 leaving the post vacant for over a year until David T. Matsuda was sworn in on June 25, 2010.

As a former senator’s aid and Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, Matsuda has been criticized by industry experts and shippers for slow action on a number of fronts, and for his lack of experience in maritime affairs.  The critics became more vocal last month with the unexpected resignation of his number two, MARAD Deputy Administrator Orlando Gotay, a United States Naval Academy graduate and former general manager of the San Juan Port Commission.

While the departure of Gotay was unexpected, some Academy alumni are not surprised by the resignation of Rear Admiral Greene.

A letter by Gary G. Hicks, Chairman of the Kings Point Alumni Presidents Alliance, sent to Alumni in August pointed to troubling times for the Academy.

“We face a perilous period in Washington, D.C. for many organizations and institutions, including Kings Point.” said Hicks. “Our fellow KP Alumni have become increasingly aware, and vocal, about a number of issues involved in the governmental administration and funding of the Academy… Regrettably, a number of these noted issues and actions taken are within the legal scope of MARAD operations. There is little question that many actions levied upon Kings Point have been extreme, and many appear to be most arbitrary.”

In the statement Hicks gave his full support to Greene; “We act in support of the profound leadership exhibited by USMMA Superintendent and fellow KP Alumni – RADM Philip H. Greene, JR., USMS (KP ’78).” Hicks further called on Alumni to join a “unified effort” to support the Academy.

Sources within the Alumni association tell gCaptain that MARAD and the Department Of Transportation has increasingly been micro-managing the Academy from Washington and that Greene’s aggressive support of the school was in contrast to the administration’s agenda and may have precipitated his departure.

A native of Southern California, Admiral Greene, was the 11th Superintendent of the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

UPDATE:

gCaptain has been sent the following excerpt from the KP Alumni newsletter that clarifies the resignation stating: “The Superintendent has been ‘reassigned.’ This is not Admiral Greene’s decision. The Dean is now the Interim Superintendent.”

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