Voice to Congress

Legislative Affairs Weekly Round-Up - June 26
June 26, 2020 by Legislative Affairs
June 26, 2020
  Looking Ahead  
  For Those Who serve  

A few thoughts from our team: Even in an election year, the sea services instill bipartisan cooperation 

As we watched the various subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee conduct their markup hearings for the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, we were inspired by the amity, civility, and courtesy displayed by the members of both parties. While bipartisanship may seem rare these days, and basic comity even rarer, the critical importance of the sea services truly brought out the best in these policymakers. The mission of defending America was front and center and any partisan considerations disappeared at the door. 

We would like to recognize these members for the vital work that they do, along with their dedicated and tireless staff members. Constructing a detailed fiscal blueprint for a sophisticated global defense force is a Herculean task. But these men and women rose to the challenge. The Navy League is proud to see such solidarity around the needs of the sea services and we are grateful for every representative and staff member that worked to make it possible. 

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 at 2pm ET, and the training on our new Voice to Congress website July 9 at 2pm ET 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  

NDAA Analysis:
This week the House Armed Services Subcommittees released their markups of the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. Despite several years of contentiousness surrounding many issues that have in the past been addressed in this legislation, this year's bill is sailing by relatively smoothly. Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (TX-01) indicated that he supports the legislation put together by Chairman Adam Smith (WA-08), who will discuss the bill on the Navy League hosted Government Matters TV show on July 13.

The Seapower Subcommittee led by Chairman Joe Courtney (CT-02) and Ranking Member Rob Wittman (VA-01), two close allies of the Navy League, completed their markup and released the text Tuesday. Expressing Congress' deep dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency and information provided by the Pentagon about shipbuilding, the committee voted to withhold some funds until the 30-year shipbuilding plan is delivered to the Hill. The plan was supposed to be delivered with the budget in February but has been delayed along with the Navy-Marine Corps Integrated Force Structure Assessment (INFSA) to provide the Pentagon more time to review it. The Subcommittee also included language that would authorize a 10-ship Tanker Security Program (TSP) and expresses support for the Jones Act. The bill as written would authorize a second Virginia-class ship in FY21, along with a total of nine used ships to recapitalize the sealift fleet before a new ship is procured, as well as incremental funding for the top-priority Columbia-class SSBN submarines through the Navy League supported National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund, and prohibit the retirement of any Navy ships in FY21 until the force structure assessment has been delivered to congress. 

The Readiness Subcommittee led by Chairman John Garamendi (CA-03) also released its markup, requiring the Pentagon to comprehensively assess its "sustainment and logistics requirements, gaps, and mitigations necessary to support the force structure, force modernization, infrastructure, and other elements of the national defense strategy." The Subcommittee also voted to require the Navy Secretary to brief congress every six months on progress to its Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP).

YOKOSUKA, Japan (June 24, 2020) The U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) returns to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) after a five-month patrol throughout the Indo-Pacific. For 75 years, CFAY has provided, maintained, and operated base facilities and services in support of the U.S. 7th fleet's forward-deployed naval forces, tenant commands, and thousands of military and civilian personnel and their families. (U.S. Navy photo by Tetsuya Morita/Released)

  Sea Service News  

The State of the Sea Services
Backlogs, extra pay and priority units: How the Navy plans to get sailors moving again - Navy Times/June 25
After three months on a stop-movement order that banned non-essential travel throughout the services, the Defense Department has greenlit 48 U.S. states and territories, as well as half-a-dozen countries. That means permanent change-of-station moves are back on ― but the Navy may not get caught up until next year.

Congress aims to strip funding for the US Navy's next-gen large surface combatant - Defense News/June 25
The U.S. Navy's interminable quest to design and field a next-generation large surface combatant is going back to the drawing board once again, a victim of the Pentagon's disorganization around this year's long-range shipbuilding plan, according to documents and a source familiar with the situation.

Navy receives first operational CMV-22B Osprey - UPI/June 24
The U.S. Navy received its first fleet CMV-22B Osprey, a tilt-wing helicopter redesigned for use on aircraft carriers, the Navy said on Wednesday.

Trump Says Wisconsin Shipyard's 'Location' Swayed Navy's Frigate Award - Defense One/June 25
The Navy chose the company over three rival shipmakers to build the new frigate in April, months ahead of schedule. Service officials attributed the early decision to acquisition reforms, not politics.

Bath Iron Works on Striking Union: 'Ball is in Their Court' - USNI News/June 24
Management of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works told a local on-strike machinists union they are unwilling to budge on the latest contract that would allow temporary workers to help with the backlog of work to keep up with Navy shipbuilding schedules, according to letters sent to the union on Wednesday.

*Special Coronavirus Coverage*
81-Page Report on Response to Outbreak Aboard Carrier Spreads Blame Beyond Its Captain - Seapower Magazine/June 25
ARLINGTON, Va. - Capt. Brett Crozier, the former skipper of the first U.S. Navy warship to suffer a novel coronavirus outbreak at sea, wasn't restored to command last week as many had expected following a weeks-long investigation, but the detailed report on the affair spreads fault to other officers as well in the response to the outbreak that infected hundreds, hospitalized several and killed one Sailor.

Dodging COVID-19, Navy ships break record for staying at sea - Navy Times/June 25
The two U.S. warships in the Middle East weren't aiming to break a record. But when the coronavirus made ship stops in foreign countries too risky, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser San Jacinto were ordered to keep moving and avoid all port visits.

Great Power Competition
Smith reveals $3.6B plan to counter China - Defense News/June 25
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., introduced his own $3.6 billion Indo-Pacific Reassurance Initiative plan Thursday ― a response to two plans, each called the Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative ― that would spend more and be more prescriptive about how the Pentagon would use that money.

Trump wants to replace New START with a treaty that includes China - Washington Examiner/June 25
When President Trump exited the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia in August 2018, it left in force only one agreement limiting nuclear arms: the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, negotiated by the Obama administration and signed by the United States and Russia in 2010.

Chinese Navy Submarines Could Become A Reality In Indian Ocean - Forbes/June 26
The Chinese Navy is rapidly pursuing global capabilities. A key area of future operations may be the Indian Ocean. Chinese submarines in particular could have a strategic impact if they were roaming those waters.


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