Some may find the phrase “make your voice heard” a bit
trite, but it truly is possible for you
to make a difference. When it
comes to issues affecting the sea
services, the Navy League makes it
easy for you to do just that.
Our organization is the voice of
the sea services on Capitol Hill.
The Navy, Marine Corps, Coast
Guard and U.S.-flag Merchant
Marine depend on Navy League
members to tell their story to our
congressional leaders. Our “Write
Congress” program on the Navy
League website is home to several
ongoing campaigns that enable
you to tell your specific representatives and senators
that you support the sea services and they should
too. Making your voice heard is just a few mouse
Among the current issues on which you can take
action is funding for the Maritime Security Program
(MSP), which is underfunded in the fiscal 2017 budget
request. The Navy League is urging Congress to restore
the full $300 million for the MSP as directed in the fiscal 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. This is the
amount necessary to sustain a 60-ship U.S.-flag maritime security fleet as outlined by the Department of
Defense’s current and projected sealift requirements,
and reflects the amount authorized by Congress. The
2017 budget proposal calls for just $186 million, going
against the will of Congress and well below the level
appropriated for 2016.
Another campaign urges members of Congress to
support funding in the fiscal 2017 Department of
Transportation budget for state maritime academy programs. It specifically requests multiyear funding for
National Security Multi-Mission Vessels. These vessels
are needed at the state maritime academies to train the
next generation of Mariners. This project also helps
stabilize the shipbuilding industry and provides a
needed resource in times of national emergency.
Two other campaigns urge the Senate to finally
approve ratification of the U.N. Convention on the
Law of the Sea and support passage of the World War
II Merchant Mariners Service Act.
Our sea service leaders have
requested passage year after year,
and the Navy League believes it is
long past time for our nation, as
the world’s premier maritime
nation, to reassert its leadership
and secure the substantial benefits
of a Convention the United States
proposed and helped create over
40 years ago. The World War II
Merchant Mariners Service Act
would significantly help World
War II-era veterans from the coast-
wise U.S. Merchant Marine gain
veterans recognition for the service
they gave to our country.
There are other critical issues to which you can lend
your support by visiting the Voice to Congress site at
http://cqrcengage.com/navyleague. Your voice makes a
difference over and over again.
Together, we have successfully created and funded
the National Sea-based Strategic Deterrent Fund,
ensuring the Ohio-class replacement submarine, the
most important leg of the nuclear triad, is funded
appropriately and will not disrupt other shipbuilding
programs. We raised defense budget caps in 2016. We
ensured the authorization of the Export-Import Bank,
saving jobs for American Mariners. We blocked a continuing resolution for fiscal 2016, restoring budget stability and saving millions of taxpayer dollars. We protected the U.S.-build requirement in the Jones Act,
ensuring healthy American shipyards for generations.
Our greatest success to date was averting a
Department of Homeland Security shutdown, which
would have been devastating for the Coast Guard.
More than 17,000 letters were sent, the Department
stayed open and Coast Guard men and women were
able to be paid for their hard work.
We make a difference, and we can every day, as long
as you stay active and engaged.
Raise Your Voice to Congress
By SKIP WITUNSKI, Navy League National President