Voice to Congress

Legislative Affairs Weekly Round Up - June 12
June 12, 2020 by Legislative Affairs
June 12, 2020
  Looking Ahead  
  For Those Who serve  

One Hundred Years of Maritime Security! A Tribute to the Jones Act: 

A very special Jones Act episode of The American Maritime Podcast was joined by Congressman Garamendi and WWII Merchant Marine veteran Dave Yoho. Garamendi began by stating "I think we need to understand the critical importance of the Merchant Marine and the Jones Act". He went on to say that while we certainly saw the importance of these issues during WWII, we can still see how critical they are to our modern environment. From shipbuilding jobs to sealift capacity during wartime, from maintaining supply lines to training generations of seafarers, the Merchant Marine and the Jones Act have had a profound and undeniably important role in securing American national security and economic prosperity. The full podcast can be found here.

A few thoughts from our team: The necessity of a 355 ship fleet

As the Senate gears up for a vote on the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, we would like to draw attention to one particular provision related to the long term strategy of creating a 355-ship fleet for American maritime security. The summary of the NDAA, just released last night, includes language which supports Senator Wicker's SHIPS Act which advocates for the creation of a 355-ship fleet as soon as possible. Senator Wicker, like so many national-security focused Congressional representatives, recognizes the need for this fleet threshold as America moves into a perilous new global environment.
We know the intentions of our great power competitors and near-peer rivals. China seeks to dominate trade lanes particularly in the South China Sea, while Russia looks to claim vast Arctic sea lanes. Such aggressive actions threaten not only America's national security interests, they threaten the rules-based international system relied upon by the entire world. Preventing this disastrous scenario requires an American fleet that can conduct widespread sea control and sea denial operations. Thus, Senator Wicker's push for a 355-ship fleet is a cornerstone of American national security and American military dominance in the 21st century. The Navy League supports the bipartisan push for this necessary forward force and we look forward to working with the House and Senate to make this goal a reality.

You can now view newsletters from previous weeks at our Voice to Congress site here: https://www.votervoice.net/NavyLeague/Blog

  Navy League Advocacy Updates  

Navy League Legislation Affairs Committee Members can view our updated Legislative Affairs Committee Page with all kinds of resources to support your grassroots advocacy!

Jones Act 100-year Anniversary!
The Jones Act-the law that requires that vessels moving cargo between U.S. points be American built, American owned and American crewed-turns 100 today! This law is fundamental to our domestic maritime industry and helps support nearly 650,000 jobs across America, with an annual economic impact of more than $150 billion. More importantly to the nation as a whole, the law provides important national, homeland, and economic security benefits. As bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate said today "U.S. mariners, shipyards and commercial vessels play a vital role in keeping our military well-supplied." Say thank you to Congress for supporting the Jones Act!

Maritime Security Program COVID Support
Without assistance during this COVID-19 pandemic U.S.-flag vessel operators participating in the Maritime Security Program (MSP) will not be able to maintain laid-up vessels in the readiness status needed by the Department of Defense, and the licensed and unlicensed American merchant mariners will be facing protracted unemployment. Ask your Representative to sign a letter of support!


  Sea Service Updates  

A few highlights from the executive summary of the Senate Armed Services Committee's 2021 National Defense Authorization Act: The bill authorizes a total figure of $740.5 billion for national defense. This sum is broken down by a base budget for the Department of Defense of $636.4 billion, $69 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations, and $8.15 billion for military construction.

The bill recognizes our nation's need to surpass Russia and China in advanced weapons such as hypersonic missiles, biotechnologies, and cybersecurity. It goes on to state "The bill directs investments and supports equipment, weapons platforms and programs that will protect our military supremacy in the seas, in the skies, in space, in cyberspace, and on land, including next-generation aircraft, battle force ships design and nuclear modernization." The bill would authorize $6 billion for the Pacific  Deterrence Initiative modeled on the European Deterrence Initiative, a new military fund to boost deterrence against China in the Pacific. "PDI will enhance budgetary transparency and oversight, focus resources on key military capability gaps, reassure U.S. allies and partners, and bolster the credibility of American deterrence in the Indo-Pacific," said SASC in their summary.

In addition, the bill authorizes $21.3 billion for shipbuilding which will be utilized to secure the procurement of seven battle force ships, contract authority for two Columbia-class submarines, three San Antonio-class amphibious ships, one America-class amphibious ship, increased advance funding for 10 Virginia-class ships over the next four years, including long-lead materials for a second hull that was dropped from the budget for FY21, authorizes long lead time material funding for LPD-32 and LPD-33, accelerated construction of the LHA-9 amphibious ship, and improvements to submarine and surface ship supplier stability. It authorizes an end-strength of 346,730 Navy personnel, and 180,000 Marines. The bill also "Expresses a sense of the Senate on actions necessary to implement the national policy of the United States to have available as soon as practicable not fewer than 355 battle force ships."

The SASC's markup of the FY21 NDAA stops short of adding additional hulls after many lawmakers in congress directed pointed criticism at the Navy for requesting just seven battle force ships in the President's Budget Request. Instead as Defense News reports the committee added advanced procurement or long lead material funding for many ship programs to provide continuing work for the shipbuilding industrial base.
The full executive summary can be found here. More analysis will be available once the detailed reports are released!

PHILIPPINE SEA (May 30, 2020) The Arleigh-burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) conducts a replenishment at sea training evolution alongside the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Barry is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Samuel Hardgrove/Released)

  Sea Service News  

The State of the Sea Services
Naval Academy board chair calls to remove Confederate names from buildings - Navy Times/June 11
The names of two members of the Confederacy should be removed from buildings at the U.S. Naval Academy, the chairman of the academy's Board of Visitors said Thursday.

Navy Kicks Off Most Advanced Wargames Since 1930s - Breaking Defense/June 11
Looking for new ways to accelerate its nascent modernization push, the Navy has set up a new Warfighting Development office that will blend force planning, strategic thinking, and officer education under one roof.

New SECNAV Braithwaite Focused on the Next Fleet, Changing Navy Culture - USNI News/June 11
Just eight workdays into the job, Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite planned to spend his first of many long nights at the Pentagon, in the latest effort to solve the Navy's biggest problem: how to build a fleet to compete with Russia and China without the money the service saw during its Cold War buildup.

Trump memo demands new fleet of Arctic icebreakers be ready by 2029 - Defense News/June 10
Much of it directs work already in progress - including building a fleet of at least three heavy icebreakers - but says the remaining ships not under contract should be reviewed for what can be done to maximize their utility in the frozen poles.

Jones Act
Commentary: At 100, Jones Act still protects maritime economy - The Daily Herald/June 11
Named for a Washington state senator, the act keeps shipbuilding jobs here and protects U.S. waters.

Hyde-Smith celebrates the importance of Jones Act to MS shipbuilding, economy - Yall Politics/June 5
U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Jones Act, a pivotal law that has buttressed shipbuilding as a major employer in Mississippi.

*Special Coronavirus Coverage*
Warships mass in the Baltic Sea for a coronavirus-conscious battle drill - Defense News/June 4
Navies from 19 NATO members and partners are slated to kick off the 2020 iteration of the "Baltic Operations" exercise on Friday, which this year excludes any amphibious drills to avoid the risk of spreading the coronavirus between ships and land.

Cadets return to Coast Guard Academy with new health regimen - The Day/June 10
More than 200 Coast Guard Academy cadets have returned to campus for the first time since early March to prepare for summer training assignments across the country.
Great Power Competition
Russia, NATO conduct parallel wargames over Baltic Sea - Military Times/ June 11
Russian combat jets have flown training missions over the Baltic Sea in parallel with NATO's drills in the region, the military said Thursday.

China condemns 'provocative' U.S. military flight over Taiwan - Reuters/June 11
China on Thursday condemned the U.S. military for the "provocative" flight of one of its aircraft over Chinese-claimed Taiwan, saying the move infringed upon China's sovereignty and contravened international law.


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