James Caponiti was appointed President of the American Maritime Congress (AMC) in March 2014. He joined AMC as Executive Director in October 2011 following more than 38 years of distinguished service with the Federal Government. The preponderance of Mr. Caponiti’s career was served with the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) where he served in a variety of key management and executive positions culminating with his May 2008 appointment as Assistant Administrator, the senior Civil Servant and Career Executive in the Agency. In that role, he provided management and oversight of the entire range of complex programs administered by MARAD. His responsibility included the development of Agency strategic planning and policy analysis processes, and he served as the Agency lead for international relations.
During the transition to new political leadership from January 2009 to July 2009, Mr. Caponiti led MARAD as the Acting Deputy Maritime Administrator. During an earlier period of transition, he served from January 2001 to October 2002 as the Acting Deputy Maritime Administrator for Inland Waterways and Great Lakes.
Mr. Caponiti was appointed to the Senior Executive Service (SES) in March 1996 as MARAD’s Associate Administrator for National Security where he was responsible for promoting and maintaining a U.S. merchant fleet to provide sealift support necessary to meet national security defense and other requirements. He was also responsible for the acquisition, maintenance, and management of a reserve fleet of Government-owned vessels to support Department of Defense sealift operations.
Mr. Caponiti served 14 years as the Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Planning Board for Ocean Shipping (PBOS), commencing with his election in October 1997 and continuing through four re-elections until his resignation at the time of his retirement from Federal service in September 2011. NATO PBOS (since 2010, known as Transport Group – Ocean Shipping) is responsible for developing and maintaining plans for civil shipping support to deploy NATO military forces during times of crisis and war.
In 1993, Mr. Caponiti was detailed to the Merchant Marine Subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he worked closely with Chairman William Lipinski in developing legislation to revitalize the U.S. Merchant Marine. That effort contributed significantly to the eventual passage of legislation to authorize and implement the Maritime Security Program.
Throughout his Federal career, Mr. Caponiti received numerous accolades and awards including the MARAD Bronze Medal in 1984; the USDOT Silver Medal Award in 1996; the Secretary of Transportation War on Terrorism Award in 2004; and in 2000 and 2005 respectively, he received the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award and the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award, the highest Civil Service awards for Senior Executives.
Mr. Caponiti earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland, and he served in the Army National Guard from 1969 to 1975.