The Military Sealift Command is a United States Navy organization that controls the replenishment and military transport ships of the Navy. The United States Military Sealift Command has the responsibility for providing sealift and it first came into existence on 9 July 1949 when the Military Sea Transportation Service became solely responsible for the Department of Defenses ocean transport needs. The MSTS was renamed the Military Sealift Command in 1970, Military Sealift Command ships are made up of a core fleet of ships owned by the United States Navy and others under long-term-charter augmented by short-term or voyage-chartered ships. Some ships may have Navy or Marine Corps personnel on board to carry out communication and special mission functions, ships on charter or equivalent, retain commercial colors and bear the standard merchant prefix MV, SS, or GTS, without hull numbers. Five programs comprise Military Sealift Command, Combat Logistics Force, Special Mission, Prepositioning, Service Support, the Combat Logistics Force’s role is to directly replenish ships that are underway at sea, enabling them to deploy for long periods of time without having to come to port. The Special Mission program operates vessels for military and federal government tasks, such as submarine support and missile flight data collection. The Prepositioning program sustains the US militarys forward presence strategy by deploying supply ships in key areas prior to actual need, also, MSC realigned two of its four mission-driven programs and adding a fifth program. The Prepositioning and Sealift programs are unchanged by the 2012 reorganization, as of June 2013, Military Sealift Command operated around 110 ships, and employed 9,800 people. The Combat Logistics Force is the part of the MSC most associated with supporting the Navy. In 1972, a study concluded that it would be cheaper for civilians to man USN support vessels such as tankers, the CLF is the American equivalent of the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary. These MSC ships are painted gray and can be easily identified by the blue. The Combat Logistics Force was formerly called the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, some of its ships were transferred to the new Service Support program. Special mission ships work for several different US Navy customers, including the Naval Sea Systems Command and these ships like those of the NFAF are painted haze gray with blue and gold stack bands. Some of its ships were transferred to the new Service Support program, as a key element of sea basing, afloat prepositioning provides the military equipment and supplies for a contingency forward deployed in key ocean areas before need. The MSC Prepositioning Program supports the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, Prepositioning ships remain at sea, ready to deploy on short-notice the vital equipment, fuel and supplies to initially support military forces in the event of a contingency. The Prepositioning Program consists of 34 at-sea ships plus 2 aviation support ships kept in reduced operating status and these ships wear civilian livery, and are only designated USNS if government-owned, those chartered from civilian owners are either SS or MV. It consists of four government-operated ships formerly in the Special Mission program, Sealift is divided into three separate project offices, Tanker Project Office, Dry Cargo Project Office and the Surge Project Office. As a result of a 2012 organization, MSCs 12 worldwide MSC ship support units will now report to the MSC operational area commands in their areas of responsibility
The logo of Military Sealift Command shows an outline of a grey ship on a stylized ocean displaying blue and gold stripes.
MSC ships are identified by the blue and gold stripes on their stacks.
A Combat Logistics Force (formerly the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force) ship, USNS ''Kanawha'', bearing the blue-and-gold stripes on its stack