My tenure as national
president of the Navy
League of the United
States is drawing to a
close, and I look back
over the last two years
with pride at what we
have accomplished and look to the future
with great hope. At all levels within our
organization, we worked together to per-
form our mission of education and advocacy
in support of the men and women of the sea
services and their families.
Among our goals at the beginning of my two-year
term were to energize and grow our membership base;
promote local council growth; refinance our building;
pay down our line of credit and increase our building
occupancy to 100 percent; grow our annual Sea-Air-Space Exposition; improve upon and expand our Navy
League brand; implement modern data systems and
processes; and improve communication throughout the
organization. I am pleased to report we hit each goal.
Innovative membership campaigns over the last two
years have seen us grow from about 38,000 members in
2015 to more than 51,000 today, a 34 percent increase.
We have chartered two new councils and rejuvenated
a few. The new database implementation, in its final
stages, will feature a member- and officer- friendly system portal for access to needed data and information. A
new, robust membership education and training program
has greatly improved communication, and we broke all
records with our 2017 Sea-Air-Space Exposition.
As Navy League members, we get many opportunities to interact with sea service members and with
others in our local communities, reminding us time
and again why our mission is so important. During my
time as national president, I criss-crossed the United
States and traveled to Europe to visit Navy League
councils and attend local and regional events.
I witnessed first-hand how Navy Leaguers’ teamwork and dedication benefit our sea service members,
their families, as well as the local communities. From
Fleet Week celebrations, unit and ship adoptions, and
ship commissionings and christenings, to youth scholarship programs, sea service awards, STEM events and
community service projects, Navy Leaguers continue to
give their all to ensure success in every endeavor.
We’ve made a concerted effort in 2016 and 2017 to
diversify our outreach efforts so that we can continue to
be an effective advocate for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps,
Coast Guard and U.S.-flag Merchant Marine. Particularly
at Sea-Air-Space, the Navy League has sought to engage
non-defense companies to encourage innovation and
advocacy, bringing in companies demonstrating stunning new advances in technology, such as augmented
reality and additive manufacturing. Engaging with these
companies is part of the wider Navy League goal to tell
all Americans that they need strong sea services for
economic prosperity and national security.
Among our advocacy achievements was the publishing of the 2017-2018 Maritime Policy Statement,
“Ensuring Strong Sea Services for a Maritime Nation,”
an important document that looks at the challenges
faced by our sea services and makes recommendations
for navigating those challenges.
Our Legislative Affairs activities have grown particularly robust, with our interactive “Voice to Congress”
portal enabling constituents to contact their lawmakers
directly regarding issues of concern to those we serve.
Most recently, our members have mobilized in opposition to the Budget Control Act and proposed steep
cuts to Coast Guard funding, and in support of our
World War II Merchant Mariners, the Jones Act and the
Maritime Security Program.
While we’ve accomplished a great deal during my
tenure, the work of the Navy League is never done.
Our 115-year-old organization cannot rest on our
successes. We need every Navy Leaguer active and
engaged. I thank you all for your support. Thank you
for letting me serve.
Our Work is Never Done
BY SKIP WITUNSKI, NAVY LEAGUE NATIONAL PRESIDENT