nation. Dan’s interest in STEM [science, technology,
engineering and math] goes back many, many years,
precisely 37, when I was a young midshipman, a
freshman, at the Naval Academy. This is a personal
event for me. Dan was my first battalion officer at the
Ferguson commended the Navy League for its work
with the nation’s youth and its emphasis on STEM
“It is a national issue and we need young people to
study those fields,” he said. “The Navy League has
been helping shape, educate and inform the American
public about the role of seapower for over 100 years.
We’re coming up next year on the 200th anniversary of
the War of 1812, with celebrations throughout the East
Coast. And it’s an opportunity to revitalize the United
States, its people, about the roles of the Navy and our
role in the world as a maritime power.
“The Navy League has never been more important
in these times that we face as a nation, to help us carry
that message and to educate a new generation about
the responsibilities of leadership that we have as a maritime nation,” he said.
Fleischmann, who serves on the House Committee
on Transportation and Infrastructure; Committee on
Science, Space and Technology; and the Committee on
Natural Resources, was the evening’s keynote speaker.
He credited the local Chattanooga Council with
educating him about the importance of seapower and
arming him with some key facts: “Ninety-five percent
of all world trade is transported on the seas. … Prior to
2003, almost every administration and Congress maintained a Navy fleet in excess of 300 ships. The current
fleet size is 286. It’s just not enough.
“This is a dangerous world,” the congressman said.
“We have adversaries out there and other countries
that are not necessarily adversaries, but they’re growing their naval fleets. … We need more ships. To do
that, we’re going to need more funding.
“Now I did not vote for the final budget debt deal.
One of the reasons I voted no was because I did not
like the fact that if the committee of 12 does not get its
job done, those cuts are going to fall very, very heavily
on defense. This is very serious.
“We are spread too thin. We cannot cut defense any
further right now. We have men and women, I think
the brightest and best, in harm’s way across this world,
defending our nation. It is my commitment to you all
tonight that I will continue to ask the committee of 12
to get its job done so that those cuts do not fall on
Visit www.navyleague.org for more convention photos and
Ferguson and Dunmire present Branch with a Navy
Distinguished Public Service Award on behalf of Navy
Secretary Ray Mabus in honor of his service with the
organization and his efforts on behalf of science, technol-
ogy, engineering and math programs.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., a member of the
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure;
Committee on Science, Space and Technology; and the
Committee on Natural Resources, gives the keynote address
during the national convention’s concluding dinner Oct. 29.