Rolf Marshall is a principal and senior maritime consultant with Thompson Marshall Consulting LLC based in Alexandria, Virginia.
His 27 years’ commissioned service in the United States Navy (1964-1991) as a Surface Warfare Officer included substantial shipboard operational experience and subspecialties in Weapons Systems Acquisition and Operations Research and Analysis, including five years with the Sealift Programs Division (N42) on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, with direct responsibility for Navy sealift programs and the role of commercial carriers in defense sealift. Following his retirement in 1991, he spent the next 20 years in the Washington DC offices of Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP and its successor K&L Gates LLP practicing in the areas of maritime law, regulation, and legislation, representing clients from across the domestic and international industries with particular focus on domestic and coastwise shipping and national defense related sealift programs.
In the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Sealift Programs Division (N42)(1986-91) he was directly responsible for Navy sealift programs and the role of commercial carriers in defense sealift including but not limited to: Military Sealift Command requirements and operations; the construction and deployments of Maritime Prepositioning Ship (MPS) squadrons; development of operational requirements for the Navy LMSR (Large Medium Speed Roll-on/Roll-off) vessels; program manager for the Fast Sealift Ships (FSS); interfacing between the Department of the Navy and the U.S. Transportation Command on issues respecting the management and use of common user organic and commercial sealift; and the employment of commercial sealift during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
In the area of National Defense Sealift, Mr. Marshall’s broad experience includes: representing U.S.-based international carriers in the drafting and implementation of the original Maritime Security Program (MSP) in 1995, its reauthorization by the Maritime Security Act of 2003, and extension in 2010 by the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2011; representing U.S.-based international carriers in national defense sealift program related issues under the 1995 and 2003 Acts, including but not limited to the transfers of operating agreements, replacement of enrolled vessels, inclusion of client-owned vessels in the MSP, the carriage of defense-related preference cargoes by MSP contractors and participation of MSP contractors in non-contiguous trades; serving as Executive Director of the National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA) Military Sealift Committee Working Group on Maritime Policy (chaired by VADM A. J. Herberger, USN, Ret and former Maritime Administrator); advising on national defense sealift programs in conjunction with vessel and carrier acquisitions; and representing maritime clients in legal proceedings.
In the areas of marine transportation and domestic coastwise shipping, Mr. Marshall’s experiences include: serving as Counsel for Maritime Cabotage Task Force/American Maritime Partnership (1995-2011) on broad range of regulatory and legislative policy issues involving U.S. domestic carriers and shipbuilders; being a founding member of the Coastwise Coalition (with Paul Bea)(1999) including development of early analyses in support of short sea shipping and presentations on the same before industry groups; and representing U.S. vessel operators and shippers on regulatory issues involving the coastwise laws, including: the use of non-coastwise qualified vessels for vessel escort services; U.S. Customs (CBP) rulings on cattle from Hawaii, dredging, new and different product doctrines; application of the Passenger Vessel Services Act to cruise itineraries; vessel lease financing; and competition in the non-contiguous domestic trades.
With VADM A. J. Herberger, USN, Ret and former Maritime Administrator and Mr. Kenneth C. Gaulden, Mr. Marshall co-authored the book “GLOBAL REACH: Revolutionizing the Use of Commercial Vessels and Intermodal Systems for Military Sealift (1990-2012)”, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland (2015).
Mr. Marshall holds a BA degree in History and Social Studies with Honors from the University of Michigan (1963), an MA degree in Political Science and International Relations from Michigan State University (1972), and a JD degree with Honors from The George Washington University School of Law (1991). His military awards include the include: Legion of Merit, the Navy Meritorious Service Medal with three Gold Stars, Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal with two Gold Stars, and a Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Mr. Marshall is a member of the International Propeller Club of the United States, having served as its International President (2008-10), the Navy League of the United States, the National Defense Transportation Association, and the Naval Institute, and is an Associate Member of the Virginia State Bar.