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NLUS LA Reports Reminder for May 2013, RVP Meeting Dates, and LA Training Dates

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  • Phelps Hobart
    Ahoy, This message is for Council Legislative Affairs personnel and any others who are concerned about the future of the Sea Services. Please pass it along as
    Message 1 of 1 , May 30, 2013
    This message is for Council Legislative Affairs personnel and any others who are concerned about the future of the Sea Services. Please pass it along as necessary.
    Each month I receive a message from Don Giles, Co-Chairman, NLUS Legislative Affairs Committee; the latest one is below. I follow up with a reply message stating what we have done at the council, area, and region level during the past month. Trust me - they are not glowing reports. There is room for improvement.
    We need more Navy Leaguers willing to receive training on making a call with their member of Congress. There are four presentations, recently updated, showing our support for each of the services. Reservations to participate in the training via a telephone conference call are made through me - dates are indicated below. There will more on all of this at the NLUS National Convention in Long Beach, June 19-23.
    I have also included a recent status report on the military and maritime authorizations and appropriations. There are five attachments associated with this report.
    It is all a bit overwhelming but when you dealing with billions of dollars, the sequestration, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, it's going to get complicated. The Navy League does what it can to keep it all straight and present a consistent message of support to the members of Congress. Online the Navy League's action center is http://www.navyleague.org/legislative_affairs/legislative_affairs.html.
    If you have something to report up the line please send it to me pronto.
    I also coordinate our Navy League Community Service Organization Presentation (CSOP) program. Again there are resource materials http://www.navyleague.org/councils/csop.html. There is training available for making presentations - send your requests and update reports to me please.
    Then there is the Navy League's Information Technology and Communications initiatives. I remain the Pacific Central Region's primary contact for such matters. Do I dare mention Membership Recruitment and Retention? I coordinate that as well. Last but not least is Veteran Affairs. Sure they keep me busy - are you engaged as well?
    Our nation's defense and security never takes a break -
    Neither does the Navy League when it comes to such matters.
    Anchors Aweigh,
    Phelps Hobart
    Senior Vice President
    Pacific Central Region
    Navy League of the United States
    (916) 739-6949

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Donald Giles
    To: NLUS Legislative Affairs Committee Members and Region Vice Presidents
    Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 11:46 AM
    Subject: NLUS LA Reports Reminder for May 2013, RVP Meeting Dates, and LA Training Dates
    Region Vice Presidents for Legislative Affairs,

    This is a reminder that your monthly Region Grass Roots Legislative Affairs
    Reports (for May) are due Friday, May 31. When you send your report to me,
    please also copy Jack Ritter
    and Jim Bras.

    I still need some of you to submit completed "Regional Status Reports",
    updated with your assigned members of the 113th Congress. These are needed
    to accurately complete the monthly National Summary Reports.

    Let me know any questions you have about the reports guidance for the RVP
    Report or the Regional Status Report, or if you need assistance in
    completing the new forms.

    The next RVP meetings are scheduled:
    Friday, June 7, at 2:00 p.m. (EST)
    For all unable to attend June 7, a make-up RVP meeting will be:
    Wednesday, June 12, at 2:00 p.m. (EST).
    Please advise me if you can not attend either of these scheduled times. As
    always, Region Presidents are welcome to attend LA RVP Meetings.

    Jim Bras will send a full agenda message and conference call information
    prior to June 7.

    LA Presentations training dates for the next two months:
    P1: June 4, 3:00 p.m. (EST); July 2, 3:00 p.m. (EST)
    P2: June 11, 3:00 p.m. (EST); July 9, 3:00 p.m. (EST)
    P3: June 18, 3:00 p.m. (EST); July 16, 3:00 p.m. (EST)
    P4: June 25, 3:00 p.m. (EST); July 23, 3:00 p.m. (EST)

    Field Leader Orientation: June 6, 3:00 p.m. (EST); July 11 (delayed one week
    due to Independence Day on July 4), 3:00 p.m. (EST)

    RVP Training: June 27, 3:00 p.m. (EST) (Note: delayed one week due to the
    national convention in Long Beach on the normal 3rd Thursday.)



    Don Giles
    Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
    National Director
    Navy League of the United States
    Atlanta Metropolitan Council
    South Atlantic Coast Region VP Legislative Affairs
    and Co-Chairman, NLUS Legislative Affairs Committee

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Sara Fuentes
    To: NLUS Legislative Affairs Committee Members and Region Vice Presidents
    Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 3:49 PM
    Subject: NDAA Update, Other News

    Hello everyone--


    I have a few DC updates I wanted to share with you--last week, the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces marked up their portion of the draft FY14 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The markup was quick – under ten minutes long – and was passed without amendment.  Below I've pasted some highlights some items of from the draft bill that may be of interest, as well as some op-eds on the topic,  and attached is the full draft mark.  The mark also includes Merchant Marine funding—academy support at the President’s budget level  and $183M for the Merchant Marine in FY14. They recieved $175M in the FY2013 CR but had requested $208M in FY14.


    In Maritime news, we participated in the Maritime Sail In day earlier this month; the Navy League letter opposing changes to the Food for Peace campaign was included in the leave behind packet (also attached).  Industry, labor, and trade group representatives split into diverse teams and visited a series of offices.  It was very effective and our message came across well--we have a lot of maritime industry supporters that were very interested in this bill.  There has been significant pushback from Congress, and it looks as though the changes will be blocked, preserving cargo preference laws for the US flag Merchant Marine.


    We also supported a House Depot Caucus event with updates on the sequestration impacts on shipyards and USMC facilities.  Those briefs are also attached. Let me know if you have questions, and I will summarize the event on the call.  On the call I will also have LCS and an STB update for you as well.  Let me know if you have any questions!





    NDAA Update


    -          Modification to Cost Limitation for CVN-78/Ford Class – language included that would raise the cost cap to the CVN-78 from $11.755 billion to $12.9 billion.  Also cites concerns about the continued escalation of the Ford-class program taken, especially when taken in context of the 30-year shipbuilding plan that “includes significant costs associated with the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine replacement” program. (pg. 3)


    -          Long-range plan for the construction of naval vessels – cites the resourcing challenges outside the Future Years Defense Plan largely due to investment costs associated with the Ohio Class replacement program and that these construction pressures will precipitate higher fiscal requirements in the mid-term planning period (FY 2024-33).  Further states that the committee believes that there will be significant pressures on the ship construction accounts that will result from the Ohio-class replacement program, while concurrently supporting the balance of ship construction requirements. (pg. 26)


    -          Includes language that says the committee is "concerned that the Littoral Combat Ship radars are not being optimally used to provide maximum protection," and urges the Navy to report to Congress by March 3, 2014 on "the steps the Navy has taken to enhance LCS sailors' training on the radars full range of capabilities," as well as to make sure that the ships' crews receive adequate training.


    Washington, D.C. – Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, released today the legislative language of the Seapower Subcommittee’s mark of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Chairman Forbes and Ranking Member Mike McIntyre (NC) led the Seapower Subcommittee in producing a mark which designates essential funding and sets priorities for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. 

    “To those predicting the decline of American power, this mark signals that we do not intend to meekly accept a world where U.S. interests can be ignored with impunity by our adversaries. Having recently received a 30 Year Shipbuilding Plan from the Navy with no basis in reality, our mark requires a detailed roadmap for how the service will reach its shipbuilding goals under likely budget scenarios,” Chairman Forbes said. “We have laid the groundwork to ask difficult questions of the Navy about the cost overruns on the Ford-class aircraft carrier, while also ensuring the Navy has an additional Virginia-class attack submarine each year. And we have made investments in technologies like the UCLASS carrier-launched unmanned vehicle, which will ensure the viability of the Carrier Air Wing for decades to come.”

    Highlights of the Seapower Subcommittee mark include:

    • Directing the Navy to report on projected Fleet size under the current budget. The Seapower mark requires the Navy to report to Congress on the likely size of the Navy’s Fleet given the current shipbuilding budget. “The Navy’s 30 year shipbuilding plan is a “plan” in name only,” Chairman Forbes noted. “Under the current shipbuilding budget, the Fleet will continue to shrink to a level completely antithetical to U.S. national security interests.”
    • Maintaining funding for the Ford-class aircraft carrier. The Subcommittee, while expressing concern with the program’s continued cost growth, continues funding for the next-generation aircraft carrier that will anchor the Fleet for decades to come.
    • Preserving Navy cruisers and amphibious ships. The Full Committee mark is expected to support the modernization of seven cruisers and two landing dock landing ships (LSDs) that were proposed for early retirement well ahead of their useful service life. Keeping these assets in the Fleet enhances the Navy’s ability to undertake critical missions like ballistic-missile defense (BMD) and amphibious power projection.
    • Supporting the Navy’s continued procurement of Virginia-class submarines, Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The Full Committee mark is expected to support the continued procurement of Virginia-class SSNs at a rate of two-per-year while procuring an additional DDG-51 destroyer and four LCSs.
    • Expanding investments in game-changing technologies. The mark encourages further investment in the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System (UCLASS) that will be critical to maintaining the Carrier Air Wing’s versatility in the years ahead.
    • Continuing investment in critical Projection Forces capabilities for aerial refueling and long-range strike. The Full Committee mark is expected to continue to support the Air Force’s Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) program and the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker.



    HASC Panel Boosts Carrier, E-2D Programs in Fiscal 2014 Defense Budget Markup

    By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

    ARLINGTON, Va. - A House Armed Services Committee (HASC) panel has voted to increase the statutory cost cap for the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford but also put in the bill its concern over the escalating costs of the new class of carriers.

    The HASC seapower and projection forces subcommittee raised the cost cap of the carrier imposed in 2010 at $11.76 billion to $12.9 billion, according to its markup of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act bill.

    “The committee remains concerned about the continued escalation in costs associated with Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier and the negative consequences associated with this continued escalation on the entirety of the ship construction accounts,” the report said. “This escalation, when taken in the context of the 30-year shipbuilding plan that includes significant costs associated with the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine replacement, is unsustainable.”

    The bill markup also authorizes multiyear procurement by the secretary of the Navy to purchase up to 32 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye radar warning aircraft during 2014-2018.

    The subcommittee also would require the Navy to conduct aerial refueling trials with the X-47B Unmanned Air Combat System demonstrator (UCAS-D). The Navy has planned such UCAS-D trials, but its 2014 budget request proposed deferring them for cost-reduction reasons.

    The bill also prohibits the undersecretary of defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics from approving a technology development contract for the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier-Launched Air Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) system until 30 days after the undersecretary “certifies to the congressional defense committees that the software and system engineering designs for the control system and connectivity segment and the aircraft carrier segment of the UCLASS system can achieve, at a low level of integration risk, successful compatibility and operability with the air vehicle segment planned for selection at Milestone A contract award,” the report said.

    The comptroller general of the United States also would be required to conduct annual reviews of the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle program, according to the markup.

    The subcommittee signaled its support for the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) program designed to succeed the SPY-1 radar in the Aegis Combat System, but expressed concern about the ability of the Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to accommodate the radar. The markup directs the secretary of the Navy to report by March 1, 2014, on an assessment of the AMDR.

    The bill also requires the Navy to report on efforts to increase the radar proficiency of the crews of the Littoral Combat Ships.

    With regard to Navy’s long-term shipbuilding plans, “The committee directs the Secretary of the Navy to provide a report to the congressional defense committee by March 1, 2014, that provides an update to the long plan for the construction of naval vessels based on $16.0 billion across the entirety of the long-range plan and to assess the corresponding reductions in the shipbuilding plan,” the report said, noting concerns about the cost of the Ohio Replacement ballistic-missile submarine program. “The Secretary of the Navy should also provide an assessment of this investment in terms of the health associated with the industrial base.”

    The subcommittee also expressed concern about increasing costs in fixed-price incentive fee contracts for ships, and directs the comptroller of the United States to report on whether the contracts are achieving the desired ends.




    The $4 billion shipbuilding shortfall
    By: Rep. J. Randy Forbes
    May 22, 2013 05:14 AM EDT

    The Navy faces a major shortfall in its shipbuilding budget in the decade ahead. While 10 years sounds like a lifetime in a town that alters its strategic planning on an annual basis, building a Navy of sufficient size and capability is a generational task that requires a sustained commitment measured not in years, but decades. In short, the decisions we make now determine the trajectory for the fleet we will have in the 2030s and beyond.

    Just how big is this funding gap? Pull out your calculators and follow along for just one minute.

    For the last 30 years the Navy’s average annual shipbuilding budget has been $16 billion. This average rate of spending traversed the 600-ship Navy buildup of the 1980s, the defense “procurement holiday” of the 1990s, and the slow decline of the fleet over the past decade from 318 ships in 2000 to just 283 today.

    In its budget, the Navy is asking for just $14 billion for shipbuilding this year and an average of that same amount over the next five years. Sequestration and the potential for further budget shortfalls put even this woefully insufficient level of funding in doubt. By contrast, the Navy estimates it will need an average of $18.8 billion per year over the next 30 years just to build and sustain a modest fleet of about 300 ships. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the shipbuilding budget will have to be even higher, at roughly $21.9 billion.

    For argument’s sake, let’s simply take the average of the Navy and CBO estimates- $20.4 billion - and compare that to the 30-year spending average of $16 billion. The difference is a shortfall of roughly $4 billion between what the Navy has actually spent in recent years and what it will need to spend just to meet its minimal goals in the future. The Navy’s so-called “plan” just doesn’t add up with its budget.

    Driving this shortfall are several factors. First, the Navy has been chronically under-investing in its fleet for at least the past two decades. This has not only resulted in a smaller fleet today, but it has created bigger gaps to fill in the future just to retain our current fleet size. For instance, in 2007 the Navy was able to meet 90 percent of Combatant Commander (COCOM) demands. Today, with a fleet stretched by a growing demand for maritime presence, it can meet just 51 percent of COCOM demands.

    Second, the Navy has too often chosen to “push to the right” its shipbuilding plans and promise that they will be acted on sometime in the future. For instance, just a few years ago the Navy was planning to build 54 ships between FY14-FY18. Today the plan calls for only 41 ships during this same time period. This slow decrease in construction simmers as a problem that will only visibly boil over in a decade or so when years of reduced goals will have left us with only a marginal fleet incapable of supporting our national interests around the world.

    Finally, the Navy must replace its aging fleet of Ohio-class nuclear ballistic-missile submarines, or SSBNs in Navy parlance, starting in the early 2020s. This will be an expensive but necessary endeavor. The Ohio-class replacement is estimated to cost about $6 billion each, or almost one half of the shipbuilding budget. As the most survivable leg of the nuclear-triad (the other two legs being our long-range bombers and ballistic missiles), the SSBN’s mission remains critical to deterring great-power conflict. Navy officials have testified that without a funding level of roughly $20 billion per year the Ohio-replacement program will cause a “breakage to other parts of the Navy’s budget.” It is a false choice to believe we must pick a future between the SSBN fleet and the rest of our Navy combatants.

    Filling the $4 billion shipbuilding shortfall and funding the fleet for the next three decades is a tall order, but it is a challenge we must rise to. What will it take? I have looked for guidance to the 1930s when Congressman Carl Vinson made the public case for funding a modern, global Navy during peacetime as the country began to realize the potential threats it faced abroad. These efforts did much to fundamentally alter the Navy’s composition to meet the coming conflicts with Japan and Germany.

    Sean Stackley, the Navy’s top shipbuilding official, recently pointed to the Reagan build-up of the 600-ship Navy in the 1980s as another example of the type of commitment and investment that will be required to meet the Navy’s stated goals. Both examples provide excellent examples of times when the nation looked into the future and made stern decisions about how it intended to shape it.

    As we consider the rise of China and its activity in the Western Pacific, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the global economy’s dependency on commercial and energy shipping, and other flash points for instability such as the Horn of Africa, it is clear that in the decade ahead we will ask our sea services (Navy and Marine amphibious forces) to make a disproportionate contribution to upholding American interests and provide for our common defense. Just as it was a political decision, albeit an incorrect one, to levy massive defense cuts on the Pentagon over the past three years, we must also choose to resource the Navy and begin to fill the $4 billion shortfall in its shipbuilding account in the years ahead.

    Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee and co-chairman of the Navy-Marine Corps Caucus.




    CQ Food Aid Article


    May 24, 2013 – 6:00 a.m.

    Lawmakers Nix Obama's Food Aid Overhaul, but Discuss Compromise

    By Emily Cadei, CQ Roll Call

    A White House-proposed overhaul of the United States’ $1.4 billion food aid program is not going to happen, at least not in as ambitious a form as the administration requested in its fiscal 2014 budget.

    Lawmakers and officials with the U.S. Agency for International Development are now in negotiations on a smaller package of changes that supporters of the overhaul hope could pave the way for incremental updates to the system of food aid delivery.

    The administration’s proposal, which would have loosened requirements on how much of the food the United States sends to hungry people around the world has to come from U.S. farmers on U.S. ships, “is just way too far, way too aggressive,” said Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., a member of the Senate Agriculture and Appropriations committees. It “never had much of a chance.”

    That sentiment is shared by members of both chambers, Democrats and Republicans alike.

    “The administration tried to bite off too much and didn’t lay the groundwork,” one senior Senate aide said.

    In addition to a proposal to allow much as 45 percent of U.S. emergency food assistance to be sourced locally, the White House wanted to move jurisdiction for the international food assistance program, known as Food for Peace, from the Agriculture committees and Agriculture Appropriations subcommittees to the authorizers and appropriators that oversee the State Department and foreign aid.

    That prompted strong pushback from the farming industry, as well as lawmakers who represent those agricultural interests, who balked at giving up that piece of their turf.

    Backers of the program, including USAID chief Rajiv Shah and humanitarian groups, argue that being able to source food locally gives them and their partners more flexibility, and the potential to take advantage of cheaper, fast food sources when possible. And supporters argue that it makes sense for the funding to be in the foreign aid appropriation, because USAID oversees much of the program already. They also note that buying some food aid overseas would have a minimal affect on U.S. farmers’ bottom lines.

    The Obama administration also sought to end the practice, known as “monetization,” of selling U.S. food abroad for cash as a way to raise money for international development projects, which studies have shown does not generally get high returns on the dollar.

    Despite Obama’s efforts, those on both sides of the debate now say that the food assistance programs will stay under the Agriculture committees. That was affirmed in the House and Senate farm bills (HR 1947, S 954) that are currently making their way through both chambers, and echoed by senators on both the Agriculture and State and Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittees.

    The flexibility the administration was seeking on local procurement of food is also expected to be scaled back drastically, although there are still discussions about giving the government more money for local food purchases.

    “I think there is an option to boost some funding for emergency aid,” said Johanns, which he said “makes sense because there are certain instances where you need food at the site really fast.”

    “I would support an effort to try and deal with those circumstances,” he said.

    According to Johanns, there are a “number of vehicles” under consideration on that front. One possibility, he said, is to increase by some smaller percentage the amount of money allowed to be spent on emergency food aid overseas, although it would be well less than the 45 percent that was the maximum amount allowed in the White House request.

    Looking for Common Ground

    The Senate farm bill that is currently on the floor proposes extending an existing pilot program on local procurement for emergency food crises, making it a small, but permanent, program. And Johanns and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., have an amendment that would increase the amount of money for that program to $60 million a year. Another option is to move some amount of money into the State Department’s International Disaster Assistance fund to buy food overseas in emergencies.

    “Right now everybody’s just trying to figure out whether there’s any common ground,” said Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., another member of the Agriculture and Appropriations committees. Boozman said his support “depends on what the compromise is.”

    Advocates of the overhaul are still pushing for an end to the monetization program.

    “We are not expecting from what we hear” for it “to be addressed in the farm bill,” said Blake A. Selzer, senior policy advocate at CARE, an international humanitarian organization. But, he said, it could get addressed in the fiscal 2014 appropriations bills.

    Johanns sounded a note of caution on changes to that program, as well. “I think you’ve got to be very, very careful about limiting that ability, because I think it’s done a lot of good in the past,” he said. “I know it gets criticized but oftentimes what a country is looking for is somebody who will come in and offer a way forward to produce a commodity like milk or whatever. Monetizing the food gives you the ability to do that.”

    Selzer said that despite the scaled-back expectations for changes to food aid programs this year, he remains encouraged by what he sees as a “significant shift in the conversation” amid the heightened attention being paid to the issue.

    He and other humanitarian groups have highlighted the fact that members of the agricultural industry, such as the National Farmers Union and the private food producer Cargill, have come out in support of increasing how much U.S. food aid can be locally sourced to give donors more flexibility.

    “I think there’s a lot of momentum for reform, much more so than in the past year or two,” Selzer said.


    (Sara’s note:  Maritime is not mentioned here as much as agriculture, but that’s OK—this issue has been worked behind the scenes and Congress is well aware of the impacts to the maritime community).


    Sara Fuentes

    Staff Vice President, Governmental Operations & Administration

    Navy League of the United States



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