NLUS Current Presidents Message - December 2012

Dear Navy Leaguers,

On Dec. 8, Special Warfare Operator First Class (SEAL) Nicolas D. Checque was killed in action near Kabul, Afghanistan while participating in a rescue mission for a kidnapped American civilian. SO1 Checque, a native of Monroeville, Pa., has a special place in the Navy League family. Prior to joining the Navy in 2001, he was a member of the Pittsburgh Battalion of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps. As a SEAL, he was one of America’s best, and we owe him a great debt of gratitude for his honorable and brave service. He joins the ranks of 303 other brave Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, Soldiers, and Airman who died in service to their country over the past year. Please keep in your prayers the family and friends of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in keeping our nation free. Also, I ask you to remember the tens of thousands of service members who are deployed during the holidays. They are standing the watch – fighting terrorists – protecting and keeping our sea lanes open – maintaining freedom of the seas – and ensuring the free flow of global commerce.

This seems like an appropriate time to review some of the highlights of Navy League during 2012. Recently, we grew our membership grew by 35. While this does not establish a trend, it is an important indicator of the success of the many Navy League leaders who have engaged our membership to focus on what we were established to do. Thanks are in order to all who worked diligently on retention and recruiting new members, because those efforts are vital to our being able to support those who defend this great nation.

Throughout the year, we have worked to improve the communication efforts of Navy League. The Navy Leaguer publication was re-established and is intended to share among us the many successful and diverse accomplishments of our individual members and councils. The imagination of our members in achieving our mission is clearly unlimited and this forum is one way that we can share members’ experiences. Seapower magazine continues as the premier publication on developments of interest to the sea services, highlighting advances in programs, strategy, materiel and manpower, as well as examining issues that hold promise, or could be cause for concern for the future. In cooperation with maritime organizations, Navy League published two booklets, “America’s Maritime Industry: The Foundation of American Seapower” and “Maritime Americans: Vital to the Future of Our Country”. These publications summarized critical facts about the maritime industry that were used in a highly successful “Sail-in” on Capitol Hill wherein we made joint calls on 176 members of Congress and their staffs. Our Maritime Policy committee worked diligently to create the Maritime Policy Statement. It provides recommendations for strategy, policy and the allocation of resources in support of our sea services and which in the committee’s opinion are essential to the successful execution of their core missions. The Annual Report, which was first released at the National Convention, summarized our financial standing and activities throughout the organization to better communicate our achievements and accomplishments in the prior year.

Legislative affairs initiatives this year were directed at many areas, but the overriding effort dealt with working to stop the across the board, mindless budget cuts scheduled to take place in January 2013. All levels of Navy League worked together to carry this message to the American people and to our elected officials. While the objective still eludes us, much progress has been made in conveying information on the tremendous risks our nation’s defense faces with sequestration.

Our legislative affairs team also visited the Hill frequently throughout the year to inform and educate members of Congress and their staffs on subjects of great importance to the sea services and our industry partners through forums such as “pizza briefs”, the Shipbuilding Caucus, the Navy and Marine Corps Caucus, and a special brief on Bold Alligator that informed members about the Navy and Marine Corps’ largest amphibious exercise in recent history.

2012 was again a year in which Navy Leaguers worked tirelessly to serve adopted ships, squadrons, stations. They also continued the proud tradition of taking a leading role in the commissioning ceremonies for Navy and Coast Guard ships and cutters. Also, at the end of the useful 51 year life of USS Enterprise, Navy League members handled the arrangements for the inactivation ceremony, attended by 12,000, of this legendary warship. Nearly every Navy League region held meaningful meetings this past year to better coordinate activities of their areas and councils. The personal expense in both time and treasure of all those participating deserves special recognition.

Our continued mission success relies on the generous contributions of members. So far in 2012 more than 2,000 members made financial commitments totaling more than $740,000. Members are also exploring ways to show their support for Navy League and its critical missions through planned and future giving opportunities.

By many measures, the annual Sea-Air-Space exposition was the most successful ever. 142 flag and general offices, along with triple the number of civilian senior executives, participated in 45 keynote addresses, panels, forums, and roundtables. Exhibitor floor space for our defense industry partners was sold out. The Congressional breakfast attracted more than 600 attendees, including several members of Congress and their staffs.

Corporate members of Navy League represent a broad spectrum of small, medium and large businesses. This past year numerous forums were held that brought members of industry and sea service leadership together for informational and educational sessions.

Our Naval Sea Cadet Corps reached a milestone this year and commemorated the 50th year of their founding. For five decades now, more than 150,000 youth participated in this drug, alcohol, and gang-free program of maritime oriented training. Former Sea Cadets have gone on to become leaders in both the military and civilian sectors. We of course owe a great amount of gratitude to people like former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Arleigh Burke and former Navy League National President Morgan L. Fitch for establishing the Sea Cadet program, but it is people like you, the Navy League member, that help sustain this program, as well as the JROTC and Young Marines.

The Navy League was an engaged partner with the U.S. Navy in commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. An exhibit telling the Navy League story was constructed and transported to eight cities where tens of thousands of Americans were made aware of our organization and the importance of the Sea Services.

Two national meetings were held this year, both of which were highly successful because of the work of the host councils and the headquarters staff. The Board of Directors selected Jim Offutt as president-elect. We are working diligently with Jim to build on the past successes of Navy League and make our organization even better as we go forward. We continue to execute existing projects and programs, as well as plan new ones.

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season. Again, I ask you to please remember the service and sacrifice of our entire military. I look forward to working with you in the New Year as we continue our support of these brave men and women and their families.

Philip L. Dunmire

National President

Navy League of the United States