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Monday, October 08, 2018

By ALAN KAPLAN, Navy League National President

Our Navy League team is phenomenal. What we accomplish every day in support of our mission is incredible — we help Marines collect Toys for Tots, we donate to sea service victims of natural disasters, we honor veterans in their communities, we welcome home our Sailors and a lot more. We experienced true devotion first-hand when, last November, more than 70 Navy Leaguers descended on Capitol Hill, as dedicated volunteers at their personal expense, to educate and advocate for our sea services and their families.

We traveled from as far as Hawaii to speak out. All regions of our country were represented, from Washington and California to New Hampshire and Florida, as we came together as a team.

We had much to talk about. A series of devastating accidents in the U.S. Seventh Fleet, a Coast Guard overextended after its all-hands-on-deck hurricane response and threats to the Jones Act gave our members a great sense of urgency. We answered the call.

We researched the issues, practiced our presentations and put on our walking shoes, visiting and educating 210 Congressional offices in a single day. The financial and time sacrifices are our way of giving back to those who give so much to us — we see it as our duty and obligation as Navy League members and concerned citizens to educate and advocate to Congress on behalf of our Sailors and their families.

We had major requests for each sea service, including growing the Navy’s fleet, improving the Marine Corps’ deployment-to-dwell ratio, recapi­talizing the Coast Guard fleet, and protecting the laws and programs that support our U.S.-flag Merchant Marine fleet. Above all, we vigorously advocated for getting rid of the Budget Control Act and providing the sea services with budget stability instead of lurching from continuing resolution to continuing resolution, which makes consistent future planning all but impossible.

We were tired at the end of the day, with some of our teams providing 10 Congressional briefings in just a few hours, but so proud of what we accomplished. We stood up for the needs of stronger sea services, especially the need for budget stability. We gained valuable insights into what various Congress members think about these issues. Every time we talk to leaders about how much our sea services do for us, we gain new supporters. It highlights how important our education and advocacy missions truly are — it helps us grow sea service champions.

It is with pride that we present Seapower’s 2018 Almanac. This publication is a valuable reference tool for Congress and their staffs, military leaders, defense industry executives and sea service personnel around the world. Not only that, it is a useful tool for our members as they continue their education and advocacy efforts beyond last November, meeting with members of Congress in their local district offices, and writing and calling daily to ensure our political leaders keep the needs of our sea services and their families as a top priority. In these pages, you’ll see exactly what we are advocating for, and learn more about the ways industry and the sea services are working together to develop the technology and resources that will best fit our sea services, and help them to fight and win.

I am so proud of our devoted Navy League team!

One Team — Mission Focused