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Fw: NLUS Public Affairs Grass Roots OP-ED

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  • Phelps Hobart
    Dear Members and Friends, As you know I am active at the region level. Below is something important I just sent to all the subscribers of the Pacific Central
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 12, 2008
      Dear Members and Friends,
      As you know I am active at the region level. Below is something important I just sent to all the subscribers of the Pacific Central Region Online Newsletter (let me know if you desire to receive those posts as well).
      The Pacific Merchant Marine Council intends to take an active roll in contacting editors with our Navy League Sea Power message. In addition we are on board the League's Grass Roots Legislative Initiative. If you care to assist simply let me know.
      Continuing on mission course,
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Friday, September 12, 2008 8:32 PM
      Subject: Fw: NLUS Public Affairs Grass Roots OP-ED

      For those of you who did not receive this message directly...
      Educating the public and elected officials on the status of the sea services is important. President McGrath's opinion piece if published is a step in the right direction. We can not expect NLUS headquarters to do the work rightfully the responsibility of the region and councils.
      Don Hale, Pacific Central Region President, supports this endeavor. He will give a prized Pacific Central Region coin to any individual who is instrumental in getting President McGrath's complete statement published in a newspaper!
      Don recently appointed Jeanne Sharkey Vice President Legislative Affairs for the Pacific Central Region. There will be a Grass Roots Legislative Affairs training session for those interested in participating. It is matter of contacting in person members of Congress, and their staff, and with a half hour appointment discussing a scripted NLUS presentation at their district office. Details on legislative affairs may be found at http://www.navyleague.org/legislative_affairs/index.php. Other regions are far ahead of us in this endeavor.
      Alright, let's convince a newspaper editor to publish President McGrath's position article!
      Anchors Aweigh for letting the public and elected officials know where the Navy League stands and the critical need to increase support for the Sea Services!
      Phelps Hobart
      Web Yeoman
      Pacific Central Region, NLUS
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Pfdumont
      Sent: Friday, September 12, 2008 12:17 PM
      Subject: NLUS Public Affairs Grass Roots OP-ED

      TO:  Navy League Council Presidents

      FROM:  Patricia Du Mont, NLUS National Vice President Public Affairs


      One of the key missions of the Navy League is to educate American people and elected leaders on key matters of importance to the maritime services.  Beginning this month, we are asking Councils to launch a modest expansion of the Navy League's successful Grass Roots program where Navy League volunteers throughout the United States can make a significant contribution on behalf of our maritime services with a minimal amount of time involved.  In a recent message to Region Presidents, National President Mike McGrath explained the importance of this limited expansion effort and the needed involvement of Navy League Councils.


      The initial focus of this new effort will be on topics raised in the September President's Letter in Seapower concerning the unprecedented decline of the Navy’s fleet over the last several years.  We would appreciate your assistance in implementing a modest expansion of our Grass Roots effort that involves approaching your local newspaper(s) asking them to publish the attached OP-ED position article by National President McGrath.  The article is virtually identical to the Seapower September President's Letter, except it is addressed to readers of a given newspaper, not Navy Leaguers.  Also, the attached chart showing the declining Navy fleet would accompany the OP-ED article.  This chart is taken from NLUS Legislative Affairs Grass Roots Presentations One and Two.


      To assist in the implementation effort, "Guidelines for Contacting Newspaper Editors" are attached, and a letter for contacting the local editor or staff member.  We believe much of this information will be self-explanatory.  However, we will be offering a short conference call briefing session for Council Presidents or their designees, the initial session to occur on Tuesday, September 16 and a make-up session on Tuesday, September 23, both at 3PM (eastern).  Since we need to limit the size of these sessions to twenty individuals each, we request that you register for these sessions if you have an interest.  You can simply send the name and email address of the proposed attendee to Public Affairs Chairman Phil Dunmire (dunmirepl@...), and we will then send that individual the conference call-in number.


      This success of this initiative depends on timely action by Councils, we ask that you make this a priority and advise us of your actions utilizing the Reporting Form provided in the Guidelines (attached).  Please email information to NVP Patricia Du Mont (pfdumont@...).


      As our National President Mike McGrath has stated, "In this time of challenging budget priorities at the national level, our support of the maritime services in educating appropriate audiences on our national security priorities has never been more important.  I know I can count on your support of this needed effort."


      Thank you for your grass roots support of this important program on behalf of the maritime services. Should you have any questions, please contact me.




      Patricia (Pat) Du Mont

      National Vice President Public Affairs

      Navy League of the United States

      Phone 954 524 7228 (business) | pfdumont@...

      Fort Lauderdale, FL


      Philip L Dunmire

      National Chairman Public Affairs Committee

      Navy League of the United States




      1.1  Guidelines & Reporting Form  (4 pages)

      1.2  Council President Cover Letter to Editor  (one page)

      1.3  National President Op-Ed  (one page)

      1.4  Chart: Declining Fleet Size 1987-2007 (one page)



      National Vice President Region, Area and Council Presidents - Pam Ammerman

      Region Presidents

      Area Presidents




       September ____, 2008


      (Title: Senior Staff Editor, etc)_____________________


      (Number, Street, Suite) __________________________________

      (City, State, Zip) ________________________________

      Dear __________________,

      Thank you for speaking with me earlier this week and your consideration regarding publishing OP-ED position article by our National President on the decline of the United States Navy's fleet over the past several years. As we discussed, one of the key missions of the Navy League of the United States is to educate American people and elected officials on important issues related to our maritime services. Our more than 60,000 civilian members nationwide are clear advocates for an appropriate national defense capability.

      The attached OP-ED article, entitled "A National Security Failure," and accompanying chart, show the unprecedented decline of the Navy's fleet to only 278 ships today. Due to unwise budget priorities, our nation’s leaders have recently allowed the Navy’s fleet fall below 300 ships for the first time since 1916. The Chief of Naval Operations has testified before Congress that current fleet size presents clear risks to our national security. As pointed out in this OP-ED article, this issue is now gaining some press attention, and we would certainly appreciate your consideration of this issue as well.

      I will call you next week after you have reviewed these materials to determine what additional information you may need. Thank you for your consideration.


      Name of sender ____________________________

      Council name_____________________, President


      OP-ED article



      A National Security Failure

      By J. MICHAEL McGRATH, National President, Navy League of the United States

      The United States no longer has a Navy big enough to defend our shores and safeguard America's interests and citizens around the globe. It is time for the American people to hold our leaders accountable for this failure.

      The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently analyzed the funding needed to build the Navy to 313 ships - the minimum number the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff say is required to meet our national security requirements. Building on data from its 2005 report, the CBO notes that from 2000 through 2008, the Navy was authorized to build fewer than six ships per year, shrinking the fleet to an inadequate 278 ships. Our Navy is now less than half the size it was 20 years ago, and 40 ships fewer than just a decade ago.

      Until recently, every president since World War I - Democrat or Republican - and every Congress, regardless of party leadership, understood that a Navy of more than 300 ships is essential to keep the peace, defend our shores and safeguard America's global interests. Keeping the sea lanes open has never been more important, especially given our reliance on imported oil and the globalization of trade.

      And threats to those sea lanes are increasing. China, with clear intent to become a maritime power, is building a modern, 200-plus ship Navy with a focus on submarines. Iran recently threatened to cut off the flow of oil in the Persian Gulf. Even Russia has resumed naval deployments and recently announced plans to build five new aircraft carriers. Every day news reports carry word of another act of piracy in unpatrolled waters.

      No nation has maintained global viability without having maritime superiority. We have been a global leader for more than a century because we are a strong maritime nation. By failing to properly fund shipbuilding, our leaders have broken from the proven record of their predecessors.

      Equally important is the impact that failure to adequately fund Navy requirements has had on America's shipbuilding infrastructure. We now have so few remaining shipyards and such a severe shortage of skilled labor that the industrial base would be hard pressed to meet the need to build or repair large numbers of ships during a conflict.

      A typical Navy warship has an expected life of 30 years. To maintain a Navy of at least 300 ships, the nation must fund and build at least 10 ships per year. The CBO now estimates it will take $27 billion per year to reach and maintain a 313 - ship Navy, a direct consequence of past decisions to fund only a handful of ships per year. The total "bill" for the chronic underfunding of Navy shipbuilding approaches $100 billion dollars. Unfortunately, the president’s budget for 2009 only asks Congress for $14.1 billion for ship construction, which will put the fleet even further behind.

      It is imperative that our government leaders reconsider the amount to be spent on shipbuilding beginning in 2009, and that the current candidates for the oval office and congress are questioned about their commitment to maintaining America's naval strength.


      Decline of the Navy Fleet Size

      1987 568 ships

      Every year since we had less

      2007 278 ships

      (Not on chart September 12, 2008 281ships, http://www.navy.mil/navydata/navy_legacy_hr.asp?id=146)


      August 30,2008



      A critical mission of the Navy League is to educate American citizens and their elected officials on matters of importance to the maritime services. The Navy League's Grass Roots legislative affairs effort has been a successful example of our efforts to reach our elected officials. National President Mike McGrath has asked that we modestly expand the Grass Roots effort to reach newspaper editors periodically so that key issues of the maritime services can be covered in their newspapers. So that we can have a consistent overall message, the issues to be covered with editors will be the same high priority issues that we are addressing in our Grass Roots presentations to Members of Congress. These high priority issues stem from the Navy League’s Maritime Policy. Based on experience, local Navy Leaguers have a better opportunity to get the Navy League's message published in a local newspaper than our National office, hence the need for this modest, but important expansion in our Grass Roots effort.


      Initially, the goal is to have at least 40 U.S. newspapers publish every year one OP-ED position or investigative article covering a key maritime services issue recommended by the Navy League. The first OP-ED position article is a slightly reworded version of the National President Mike McGrath’s Seapower September 2008 President's Message entitled "A National Security Failure," which describes the 10+ year decline in the Navy's fleet to unprecedented levels, due to inappropriate budget decisions by our government's leaders. This OP-ED position article also incorporates a chart showing the declining Navy fleet and both are attached. For purposes of definition, an OP-ED position article is described in Wikipedia: "An OP-ED, abbreviated from opinion editorial due to the tradition of newspapers placing such materials on the page opposite the editorial page, is similar in form and content to an editorial, but represents the opinion of an individual writer, who is sometimes but not always affiliated with the publication."


      If the editor prefers to do an investigative article on the declining Navy fleet in place of publishing an OP-ED position article by NLUS National President that would be equally acceptable. The OP-ED position article on declining fleet size could provide editors some early ideas for framing their article, pointing. to other facts that can easily be validated and researched on-line for an investigative article; the Congressional Budget Office’s recent report on the cost of rebuilding the Navy’s fleet to the 313 ships recommended by the Chief of Naval Operations or the recent Reuters article indicating the Russia’s plan to build five new aircraft carriers.




      The roles for extending Grass Roots efforts to reach newspaper editors are very similar to roles already established for reaching Members of Congress with our standard Legislative Affairs presentations.

      These roles include the following:

      The National Vice President Public Affairs, supported by the National Public Affairs Chairman and Committee, has overall responsibility for the Grass Roots public affairs effort including communicating with Navy League Councils issue to be addressed and monitoring progress on reaching publishing goals. The National Vice President Public Affairs and Council Presidents will ensure that any OP-ED materials provided by a Council to a local newspaper representing the Navy League’s position that are different from materials provided under this effort, are vetted through the HQ staff prior to newspaper submission, to ensure information follows Navy League priorities. However, it is strongly recommended that materials provided be utilized, having been researched and written using team expertise of NLUS volunteers and staff.

      Region and Area Presidents will have overall responsibility to ensure the effort is successful in their regions and will likewise monitor progress on goal achievement and take action as necessary coordinating with National Vice President Public Affairs. National Vice President for Region-Area-Council Presidents will assist in this effort.

      Councils will be directly responsible for contacting newspaper editors in their area of operation. Where more than one Council is served by the same newspaper, these Councils may wish to coordinate their efforts. Council Presidents please note responsibility in #1 (above) regarding any changes in materials provided, proposed changes must be communicated to National Vice President Public Affairs for vetting through HQ staff before submission to local newspaper to ensure information follows Navy League priorities.

      National staff will provide advice and counsel to this effort, as may be needed, and will maintain the permanent archive of articles published in support of Navy League OP-ED positions. The Navy League Executive Director will serve as the designated expert if interviews are requested by newspapers stemming from the Grass Roots newspaper contact effort.


      These procedures are not complex or time consuming.

      Contact with newspaper(s).

      After reviewing this document and the OP-ED package, Council Presidents or their designees should contact their local newspaper(s) with a brief description of the Navy League and the issue at hand. The person making the contact should be a subscriber and so state. A person with existing contacts with the newspaper is of course preferable for the call. It is strongly recommended that the individual making the contact be someone who has attended either Grass Roots Presentations One or Two Legislative Affairs training sessions since this training provides needed supporting details for the OP-ED article. If telephone contact with the editor or staff is not successful, mail or e-mail the material to the editor. A sample letter is provided.

      OP-ED Package.

      Provide the following to newspaper editors after initial contact by phone:

      a. A letter or e-mail forwarding b. and c.

      b. The OP-ED position article by NLUS National President J. Michael McGrath on declining fleet size.

      c. The supporting chart on declining fleet size.


      Within a week of the initial contact, initiate follow-up with the appropriate person.

      National Assistance.

      E-mail your questions on implementation issues to Patricia Du Mont, National Vice President Public Affairs (pfdumont@...), or Phil Dunmire, Public Affairs National Committee Chairman (dunmirepl@...). Newspaper requests for further information on the OP-ED issues should be directed to National Executive Director Steve Pietropaoli (spietropaoli@...), providing Steve with the name, e-mail address and phone number of the newspaper contact along with the issues they are interested in. Copy e-mail to Patricia Du Mont (pfdumont@...) on these requests.

      Progress Reporting.

      Reporting periodic progress on reaching local newspapers and obtaining their agreement to publish the OP-ED position is important so that we measure our success. Councils are asked to forward the simple report shown on the next page when one of the three milestones is completed. Reports should be forwarded to NVP Patricia Du Mont (pfdumont@...) with a copy to your Region and Area Presidents.


      Email from: ___________ Name, _________ Council

      To: Patricia Du Mont, National Vice President Public Affairs (pfdumont@...)

      Copy to: __________ (Region President), ____________ (Area President)

      Subject: Status - Grass Roots newspaper contact actions

      For EVERY NEWSPAPER CONTACTED, this form is designed to report each of the three (3) milestones related to the Grass Roots program for contacting local newspapers to place OP-ED articles on Navy's declining fleet size, or encouraging newspaper to do their own article on subject.

      Please indicate in the space following whether this report is for milestone 1, 2, or 3: _________


      a. Newspaper name ___________________________________________________

      b. Newspaper city and state ___________________________, _________________

      c. Name and e-mail address of council person making contact: _________________, __________________________________________________________________


      d. Newspaper was contacted and agreed to see materials ______________________

      e. Date of contact__________ Name and title of contact ______________________

      f. Newspaper decided to publish the OP-ED or do an article. Please provide details on decision and timing _______________________________________________


      g. Newspaper declined to use the OP-ED or use the materials after reviewing. Provide reasons given, if any __________________________________________


      h. Provide details and date of any published article resulting from contact ________


      i. Please send in any resulting article from the contact. Electronic form is desired, but if not available, please mail one copy to Patricia Du Mont, NLUS NVP Public Affairs,(email pfdumont@... or 1531 Southeast 13 Street, Ft Lauderdale, FL 33316), with a second copy to the Navy League Public Relations for archives (publicrelations@... or Navy League of the United States, 2300 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 200, Arlington, VA 22201-2333).


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