posted on April 30, 2012 17:20
Last week, 25 April 2012, AUSN met with Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Representative Howard ‘Buck’ McKeon (R-CA-25), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-22), Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA-52), Representative Tom Rooney (R-FL-16) and Representative Michael Conaway (R-TX-11) in a roundtable forum in the U.S. Capitol to discuss options to avoid sequestration to the Department of Defense (DOD), which Members of Congress, at this point, are beginning to feel is unavoidable.
The roundtable discussion noted how the only option being proposed was addressing the defense cuts using Budget Reconciliation under the Ryan Budget Plan. This proposal is strictly under party lines and has no bipartisan support (as discussed in many prior blogs). However, there appeared to be a consensus that the biggest challenge is messaging this concern as there are still Members of Congress (as well as the general public) who do not know what sequestration is and what far reaching impact it could have across the country. AUSN blogged to our membership in the Capitol Hill Blog titled ‘The Great Sequestration Debate…. And What That Means’ a few weeks ago, which contained some helpful and informative resources on what sequestration is and the impact it could have. The HASC website also has an incredible Sequestration Resource Kit on what sequestration is, its impact, and what the defense community is saying, including AUSN’s letter sent to House Leadership on the subject.
AUSN hand delivered the following letter to ALL Members of the House regarding the devastating impact that sequestration would have on the defense community.
Members of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Letter of Concern Regarding Defense Sequestration
Dear Member of the House,
As Executive Director of the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN) and on behalf of our 20,000 members across the country, I am writing to express our deep concern for the disastrous effects that the pending sequestration will have on our national defense posture. We are asking you to take action to avert this catastrophe which will leave our Navy on its way to a size not seen since before WW II, a Navy incapable of carrying out the many missions assigned today by our National Command Authority. No one wants to see a return to the “hollow force” that occurred after Viet Nam but that is exactly where these mandatory cuts will take our Navy. Worse yet the burden of these cuts will immediately fall upon those who have borne the recent battle, the sailors and their families. Many will lose their jobs as a much smaller Navy will not require their presence. Those still serving will see the length of deployments away from homeport stretch significantly. This is already beginning but will escalate tremendously, threatening the all- volunteer force that we as a nation have come to depend upon and must not take for granted.
The Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) have testified that if a solution is not found by mid-summer, the Navy will have to begin renegotiating and rewriting contracts, a process the CNO has said will not be easily reversible. The inevitable result of this is will be a loss of the industrial base, thousands of jobs and ultimately increased cost to the taxpayer to either fix the problem or become a second rate global power with our security at risk.
Congressman, no one wants to see this happen but unfortunately no one seems willing to prevent it. It is as if no one expects that sequestration will actually take place, yet it is the law of the land unless you help enact legislation to prevent it. It is not hyperbole at all to suggest that this is a national security matter of the utmost importance. AUSN urges you to support whatever legislation may come to the floor to avert this crisis.
Please feel free to contact myself or our Legislative Director, Mr. Anthony A. Wallis, with any questions or concerns at 703-548-5800.
Rear Admiral (ret) Casey W. Coane, U.S. Navy
Executive Director, AUSN
Please continue to contact your Representatives and Senators and voice your concerns by using our Contact Congress feature and help get the word out. This is an ALL HANDS ON DECK effort and your grassroots advocacy will help make the changes that need to happen!