Voice to Congress

Legislative Affairs Weekly Round-Up – June 19
June 19, 2020 by Legislative Affairs

June 19, 2020
  Looking Ahead  
  For Those Who serve  

A few thoughts from our team: Celebrating Juneteenth (Emancipation Day) 
On this very important June 19th, also known as Freedom Day, we at the Navy League would like to take a moment to truly recognize the service, sacrifice, patriotism, and national pride displayed by African Americans who have served in every American war dating back to our Revolution. From the frozen grounds of Valley Forge, to the hills and beaches of Europe, to the jungles of Vietnam, and the deserts of Iraq, these patriots fought for country with valor. What we must acknowledge today, is that the country did not always fight for them.

Returning home from the horrors of World War II, African Americans found that they still lived as second-class citizens in their own land. Their sacrifice, it seemed, would not be rewarded or even acknowledged. They were there when the nation needed them, but the nation was not there for them when they returned.

It would be the military that would lead the way in rewriting the status quo, desegregating its ranks before any other government entity and before the nation itself. This was not done out of political correctness but out of hard-nosed military pragmatism. The armed forces were the first to simply accept the fact that all Americans are essential to our security and prosperity. To view any of our citizens as being less vital to the safety of the nation was not only foolish but hazardous. Let us remember on this Emancipation Day, that our victories on the battlefield, our innovations in the private sector, our music and culture, can often trace their origins in some way to African Americans. This demographic group has been remarkably influential in the history of our country. We would like to take this moment to truly appreciate their service and to provide recognition that has often and for too long been denied.

Battle of Midway Webinar!
Learn about the Battle of Midway, a turning point in World War II that saw naval cryptographers outsmart Japanese forces with their codebreaking so the United States could prepare its own ambush, a move that set the U.S. up for victory. This pivotal battle paved the way for America's triumph, serving as the first major naval win for the Allied forces.

This online event is brought to you by the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps and the Navy League of the United States Saturday, June 20, 2020 at 3 p.m. ET.

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!

Join our monthly GLI Advocacy Training next Monday, June 29 by emailing rsimon@navyleague.org!

Navy Budget
As China takes advantage of the coronavirus crisis to escalate its bullying of its Vietnamese and Malaysian neighbors in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy is the best force capable of responding. The Navy is the surest guarantee of freedom of navigation on the worlds oceans and maintain the global movement of goods and services conducting crucial operations even as it has been hit hard and is focused on responding to the covid-19 crisis.

Speak up and tell congress the Navy must have a larger share of the defense budget in order to maintain readiness and expand the fleet to prepare for great power competition!

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  

The full Senate Armed Services Committee report for the NDAA has not yet been released and is likely to be pushed back to late next week as the Senate focuses on policing reform. The House is likely to begin working on its own NDAA language next week. The Navy League will keep you updated on all the important information as it becomes available.

The full executive summary of the NDAA can be found here. More analysis will be available once the detailed reports are released! 

The USNI News reports that Congress is starting to get frustrated over "limited insight" the public has on the Navy's future fleet as an approved 30-year shipbuilding plan or Force Structure Assessment has yet to be delivered.

"We have been promised by the Department of the Navy an updated force structure assessment, late in 2019, then early in 2020, then a little later in 2020. And now, again, we to this day still have not received an updated force structure assessment. In addition, we did not get a 30-year shipbuilding plan, which is required by law," Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) said during a June 4 House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee hearing.

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 15, 2020) Quartermaster 1st Class Talisha Williams, assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97), takes a bearing using a telescopic alidade from the port bridge wing, June 15, 2020. Halsey is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to support Joint Interagency Task Force South's mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Langholf/Released)

  Sea Service News  

The State of the Sea Services
New Pentagon team is going to take on racial justice in the military - Military Times/June 18
Civilian and uniformed military leadership have two weeks to bring Defense Secretary Mark Esper their best ideas for improving diversity and inclusion in the military immediately, he said in a prerecorded video announcement released Thursday.

Kathryn Wheelbarger, Pentagon's top foreign policy official, resigns - Defense News/June 18
Kathryn Wheelbarger, a primary contact in the Pentagon for allies and partners abroad, has resigned six days after having her name pulled for the department's No. 2 civilian intelligence role.

Cost Estimates Questioned for New Navy Frigate - National Defense/ June 18
The Navy is moving forward with a new guided missile frigate, but some observers question the service's cost estimates for the program.

Bath Iron Works shipbuilders are on the verge of striking - AP News/June 18
BATH, Maine - The largest union at U.S. Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works begins voting Friday on a contract proposal that was unanimously rejected by its negotiating committee, raising the possibility of the first strike in 20 years.

The narrowing of the defense-industrial base has reached critical levels - Defense News/June 18
Much has been written about how few major defense contractors are left on the playing field. Where once robust competition occurred, now there is little to drive excellence. Consolidations, mergers and changes of business focus has this critical business sector at the breaking point. A pending call by the Department of the Navy to adjust the procurement process for the vital Columbia-class submarines to make it a block buy puts this issue even more into the spotlight. This alone warrants a deeper look into this problematic area.

*Special Coronavirus Coverage*
Navy upholds firing of carrier captain and holds up promotion of admiral because of handling of virus outbreak on ship - ABC News/June 19
The Navy's top leaders have decided not to reinstate the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the admiral in his direct chain of command will be held accountable as well over their handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier, according to a U.S. official and a congressional aide.

Great Power Competition
Competition between US and Russian air forces keeps pace despite global pandemic - Defense News/June 19
On Tuesday night, U.S. Air Force F-22 jets scrambled to intercept two separate formations of Russian aircraft that included Tu-95 bombers, Su-35 fighter jets, and an A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft, according to North American Aerospace Defense Command.

In War, Chinese Shipyards Could Outpace US in Replacing Losses; Marine Commandant - Breaking Defense/June 17
The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David Berger, dismisses current Marine and Navy plans for amphibious ships as "obsolete," and worries that in any conflict, China could replace damaged ships faster than the US in a draft operating concept obtained by Breaking Defense.



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