Navy League Looks Ahead to 2005
New President, Headquarters Building Coming During the Summer
The Navy League concluded 2004 by setting into motion the change of command at the national president’s post that will take place during the summer. John A. Panneton of Virginia Beach, Va., was elected by the board of directors as the Navy League’s new senior vice president at the 2004 Winter Meetings, Nov. 4-6 in Arlington, Va.
Panneton will take the reins from National President Sheila M. McNeill following the Navy League National Convention in June in Norfolk, Va. A national vice president and a former president of the Hampton Roads, Va., Council, Panneton said membership recruitment and retention would be among his priorities when he assumes leadership of the Navy League.
In introducing Panneton as senior vice president, McNeill said, “We have accomplished a lot in the last 16 months, but there is still a lot to accomplish ... I want to pass that momentum on to John.”
During the past year, the Navy League continued to lobby on behalf of the Law of the Sea Convention, the Coast Guard’s Deepwater program and infrastructure improvement efforts, the Navy’s ongoing transformation, the need to balance fleet size concerns with national security missions and ever-improving capabilities, and promote the streamlining of oversight of the Department of Homeland Defense. McNeill visited Navy League councils, officials and sea service leaders in France, Spain, Italy and Canada during the summer to bolster support for the association and its message.
In October, McNeill announced the creation of the Navy League’s “Grass Roots Legislative Transformation Initiative.” A central tenet of the initiative is to increase the involvement of Navy League regions, areas and councils in legislative affairs activities and to focus on the legislative priorities at hand.
In November, McNeill announced that the Navy League had withdrawn its support of the American Shipbuilding Association (ASA) Sea Power Ambassador Program due to differences over the tactics to be used in advocating for the maintenance of a strong maritime force in America.
“We share many goals with ASA, and will continue to work with them on issues of mutual concern,” she said, “but we have at times found their approach to issues too narrow and their tactics too divisive. The Navy League remains an ardent supporter of America’s shipyards, and will remain a tireless advocate for recapitalizing our naval fleet while communicating a broad message about sea power to the American people and their elected representatives.”
During the 2004 National Convention in San Diego in June, the Navy League leadership structure was slightly revamped, as vice president of strategic planning and vice president of public relations posts were created and the vice presidencies of education and information technologies merged into one position. Several new vice presidents and leadership officials were voted in during the convention, and former Acting Secretary of the Navy Hansford T. Johnson joined the Navy League’s national advisory council.
The following is a status report on the Navy League’s other principal activities, events, and accomplishments during the past year.
The Navy League’s continued ability to carry out its mission of providing support for the men and women in the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the U.S.-flag Merchant Marine and their families relies in large part on the generosity and commitment of its members and donors. In 2004, corporations, major patriotic and educational foundations, individuals and Navy League councils provided gifts and bequests of nearly $1 million.
Foremost among the organization’s fund-raising activities is the fund to support the new Navy League Headquarters Building, which has an anticipated opening next summer. To date, 30 councils and more than 700 individuals purchased inscriptions on the Honor Wall, the hallmark installation in the building’s lobby that will pay tribute to the dedication of sailors, Marines and mariners, past and present. Several families, councils and private donors have also donated funds to name particular rooms in the building.
More than 80 of these donors are members of the President’s Circle, the Navy League’s distinguished Recog-nition Society that advises the national president on Navy League programs, strategy and other matters. These members, who contribute a minimum of $1,000 annually, are given special recognition at national meetings, are invited to private receptions with distinguished national leaders and receive personal invitations to attend events in honor of the national president.
The Navy League demonstrates its support for our troops and their families in many ways. At the community level, councils work with commands, units, bases and ships to recognize operational excellence, provide a bridge to local business and civic leaders, and deliver vital support and relief to families.
Navy League youth programs build teamwork and character, and strive to instill courage, honor and patriotism in children. For more than 50 years, the Navy League has supported the Naval Sea Cadet Corps, which trains teenagers in basic seamanship and military skills and develops their moral character in an alcohol-free, drug-free, gang-free lifestyle.
The Navy League Foundation is the Navy League’s premier institution to promote youth education. Through its National Scholarship Program, the Navy League provides financial support to dependents and direct descendants of sea-service personnel. In 2004, the Navy League awarded more than $47,000 in scholarships to eligible undergraduates across the country. Among these were the first recipients of the endowed scholarships from Planning Systems Inc. and the Anne E. Clark Foundation. More information can be found on the Navy League website at http://www.navyleague.org/ scholarship.
During these times of renewed threats to our domestic security, the Navy League is the nation’s foremost citizens’ advocate for maintaining a superior sea service. The Navy League does this through regional seminars that bring together military, corporate and government leaders, congressional outreach and legislative briefings, and its monthly publication, Seapower. Each of these efforts is designed to facilitate dialogue and provide important channels of communication between decision-makers at the local and national levels.
The Navy League’s mission is to speak out on behalf of the men and women in uniform, and communicate to the general public the issues that are vital to maintaining a strong maritime force for America. The Navy League is grateful to its donors who believe in this mission and so generously give in support of its work.
The Navy League’s 2004 Sea-Air-Space (SAS) Exposition, held April 6-8 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., attracted an estimated 10,000 people from the active-duty military, civilian and industry communities.
With its theme, “The Power of Teamwork,” SAS 2004 boasted several hundred exhibits showcasing the latest military hardware and technologies, and presented dozens of seminars and briefings on such hot-button issues as the Coast Guard’s Deepwater Program, the Navy and Marine Corps’ Sea Basing concept, future budget plans, doctrine and policy developments, and technological priorities.
SAS is a one-of-a-kind exposition, drawing top decision-makers of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and U.S.-flag Merchant Marine. Among the sea-service leaders who participated in the 2004 SAS were Navy Secretary Gordon R. England; Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark; Vice Adm. J. Cutler Dawson Jr., deputy chief of naval operations for resources; Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert Magnus, deputy commandant for programs and resources; Vice Adm. John B. Nathman, deputy chief of naval operations for warfare requirements and programs; Adm. Frank L. “Skip” Bowman, then-director of nuclear propulsion at Naval Sea Systems Command; Gen. William Nyland, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps; and Rear Adm. Larry Hereth, Coast Guard director of port security.
Along with a variety of sea-service personnel and program officials, staff members of House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over defense affairs, and senior officials from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, were in attendance at SAS. Navy League National President Sheila M. McNeill also hosted delegations of defense and industry officials from Japan and South Korea.
The Navy League presented its Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz Award to Patrick J. Finneran Jr., vice president and general manager of the aerospace support division at Boeing and a former Marine, during SAS. The award honors a leader from industry who has made an exemplary contribution to U.S. maritime strength.
The 2004 SAS also saw the introduction of two new sets of safety awards, the Adm. Vern Clark Safety Awards for Navy individuals and units, and the Gen. James L. Jones Safety Awards for Marine Corps individuals and units.
Secretary England, his wife, Dorothy, and three Navy League corporate members — Lockheed Martin Corp., General Dynamics Corp. and Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. — endowed the awards, named after the current chief of naval operations and former commandant of the Marine Corps, for their emphasis on safety throughout the Navy and Marine Corps.
The annual awards are intended to stimulate safety, ideas, suggestions and programs that will reduce mishaps injuries and fatalities with the Depart-ment of the Navy by providing special recognition to individuals and units or organizations who best exemplify and advance a culture of safety.
Corporate Affairs had a very successful 2004. Along with adding 26 Corporate Members and 11 Business Associate Members, the Navy League was host to several new events for its Corporate Membership.
In March, Secretary England and National President McNeill welcomed the Navy League’s 11 Corporate Gold Members to a gathering held at The Caucus Room, in Washington, D.C. England, Adm. Michael G. Mullen, vice chief of naval operations, and Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Magnus were available to talk with guests and answer their questions.
Also in March, McNeill invited Corporate Gold Member representatives to Navy League headquarters in Arlington, Va., for lunch and to brief them on the 2004 Sea-Air-Space Exposition. The representatives returned to contribute feedback about the exposition and discuss the possibilities of making changes to future expositions.
In May, the Navy League’s Corporate Affairs, Legislative Affairs and Develop-ment offices invited the Corporate Members, members of the Legislative Advisory Board and donors to the National Press Club for a luncheon with Secretary England, which generated a great turnout.
The Navy League enhanced the attractiveness of corporate membership by creating a higher-value benefits package and expanding the Special Topic Breakfast Series, which gives corporate leaders the latest information on sea-service acquisition priorities and developments. Among the featured speakers in 2004 were Magnus, Vice Adm. J. Cutler Dawson Jr. and retired Marine Lt. Gen. Frank Libutti, undersecretary for information analysis and infrastructure protection.
Navy League Corporate Membership represents a unique opportunity for private industry. The Corporate Member-ship Program provides many benefits to defense companies, including the opportunity to network with U.S. and allied defense-industry leaders at Navy League events, meet senior decision-makers on Capitol Hill and in the nation’s armed services, and demonstrate their support for the U.S. sea services.
There are 11 Corporate Gold Members of the Navy League. This membership category was established in 1997 for companies that have become giants in the defense industry. The current Corporate Gold Members are Alliant Techsystems, The Boeing Co., BAE Systems, DRS Technologies Inc., EDS Corp., General Dynamics Corp., KBR, Lockheed Martin Corp., Maersk Line Ltd., Northrop Grumman Corp. and Raytheon Co. The list of Corporate Members at year’s end was 161, with 21 Business Associate Members.
In 2004, seven Navy League councils took advantage of the Corporate Member Recruiting Incentive Program. For each member recruited, the participating council received half of the membership fee with no additional rebates for the first year. A total of $11,500 was distributed back to the following councils: Hampton Roads, Va.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Lake Washington, Wash.; National Capital, D.C.; Northern Virginia; Philadelphia; and San Diego.
The Office of Legislative Affairs worked vigorously on numerous projects supporting the priorities of the sea services while continuing to provide Navy League members with information about current legislation, and making it easier for members to inform their senators and representatives about their views on national defense and homeland security.
The Legislative Affairs department represents the Navy League through one-on-one visits with members of Congress, and with the professional staffs of House and Senate committees. The organization sponsors defense briefings at which the Navy League has the opportunity to articulate its legislative priorities with congressional leaders.
Legislative Affairs hosted congressional staff members at the 2004 SAS, briefing them on the acquisition and research, development, test and evaluation priorities of the sea services. The Navy League also sponsored several Navy-Marine Corps and Coast Guard Caucus briefings that focused on the legislative priorities of all the nation’s armed services.
Throughout the year, the Navy League joined with the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Offices of Legislative Affairs in hosting briefings, receptions and other events attended by members of Congress. During the annual convention in San Diego, National President McNeill presented the Navy League’s 2004 Robert M. Thompson Award for Outstanding Civilian Leadership to U.S. Rep. Ed Schrock, R-Va., and U.S. Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., in recognition of their efforts “in providing the funding needed by our nation’s sea services … and in ensuring that the men and women in today’s armed services, and their families, are adequately provided for.”
Among the major defense issues addressed by the Navy League during the past year were the development of the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet; the funding of three key Marine Corps programs (the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, the 155mm light howitzer and the C-130J replacement aircraft); the proposed acceleration of the Coast Guard’s Deepwater project; the need for a more robust shipbuilding program; and the procurement of Virginia-class submarines.
The Navy League’s advocacy efforts include active participation in The Military Coalition, a consortium of patriotic and veterans’ organizations representing more than 5.5 million citizens. Coalition members meet regularly to share information, discuss issues of common interest and advocate a coordinated legislative agenda.
The Office of Legislative Affairs worked with Tom Dwyer, an outside consultant and current member of the Navy League, to launch the “Grass Roots Legislative Affairs Transformation Initiative” to increase educational efforts for members of Congress to the level needed in today’s environment. Perhaps the single most important element of the project is to encourage the involvement by Navy League regions, areas and councils in legislative affairs activities.
Included on the Navy League website, under Office of Legislative Affairs, are: (a) a search-engine capability that allows members to find their senators, representatives and congressional district by nine-digit Zip code; and (b) a daily schedule of important House and Senate activities.
The Congressional Contact Center also enables Navy League members to send e-mails directly to their senators and representatives, and provides draft letters on many of the League’s principal legislative concerns. The Center was used with singular effectiveness to support the Navy League efforts: (a) to provide additional federal funding for the Naval Sea Cadet Corps; and (b) to help legislators understand the important defense issues that must be considered in the enactment of environmental-protection laws.
The 2004 SAS Exposition offered a major opportunity to generate positive media coverage for the sea services, exhibitors and the Navy League. More than 100 print and broadcast media representatives attended SAS. This was a significant increase over the 74 who attended in 2003. The SAS 2004 press room credential and information areas were staffed by Navy League volunteers throughout the three days of the symposium.
Navy League Public Relations worked closely with exhibitors and the sea services to provide journalists with the information they needed. Information was coordinated for the SAS Show Daily, which for the first time was published daily by the Washington, D.C.-based newsletter Defense Daily, in cooperation with the Navy League. A question-and-answer (Q&A) news conference with Secretary England was held on the show floor, and with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark at the CNO SAS Luncheon.
Navy League Public Relations prepared advisories, releases, pitch letters and press kits, and worked with several defense industry public relations representatives to coordinate press briefings on new equipment and technology.
Assistance was provided to National President McNeill in preparing for several interviews, including an “on-camera” interview with a reporter from the Naval Media Center that was the lead feature of a 30-minute news program called “Navy-Marine Corps News,” distributed via videocassette to Navy and Marine Corps commands. NLUS Public Relations coordinated all aspects of the Adm. Vern Clark and Gen. James L. Jones Safety Awards that were presented at the Secretary of the Navy luncheon at SAS.
In preparation for SAS 2004, a Point-of-Contact (POC) Luncheon for sea service POCs was held on March 16. The POC luncheon attendance in 2003 was approximately 25. In 2004, there were 54 sea service POCs, with five Navy staff attending. More than 120 offices/units were contacted and invited, and the public affairs chiefs of all three sea services attended as speakers.
The Navy Leaguer, the Navy League’s national newsletter for members and councils, continued to be published in hard copy and online versions, providing a broad spectrum of Navy League activities around the world.
A public relations workshop was conducted at the 2004 annual convention in San Diego for council members and officers. The public relations efforts of the headquarters staff continued to be complemented significantly by the highly professional efforts of Navy League councils.
Other initiatives included the presentation at the annual convention of Public Relations Recognition Awards to councils with outstanding PR programs and the Donald M. Mackie Awards to councils with outstanding and meritorious newsletters. The 2004 convention received positive coverage when National President McNeill appeared on a half-hour radio talk show in San Diego.
The Navy League membership staff continued to rely on the Navy League’s upgraded information-technology systems to improve the range of services provided to councils and individual members. The preliminary steps were taken to identify a new Association Management System to replace the existing outdated software installed in 1998.
The system, with a target installation date in 2005, is expected to significantly enhance the national staff’s support to councils. Enrollment in the Online Community is growing, with additional improvements being made as users submit feedback. The Navy League recruitment program with Military.com continues to increase NLUS visibility on the Internet and is a steady source of new members.
The total number of councils stabilized at 277, with six new councils in various stages of formation.
The Navy League’s national publication, Seapower magazine, continued to report developments of interest to the sea services, highlight groundbreaking advances in programs, strategy, materiel and manpower, and examine issues that hold promise for the future. Of major importance is the Navy and Marine Corps’ Sea Basing concept. Seen as a revolution in power projection for the services, sea basing was featured in a special section in the June issue of Seapower.
The publication underwent a recent redesign to give it a contemporary look and make it easier and more enjoyable to read. The redesign was introduced in the December issue of Seapower and is highlighted by a new layout and feature formats to make the magazine more vibrant and inviting.
Seapower introduced a new annual Corporate Membership Directory in the August issue to provide a source of up-to-date information on nearly 180 leading firms in the defense industry. The next Corporate Membership Directory will be featured in the June 2005 edition of Seapower.
The “Washington Report” section of the magazine was expanded in 2004 to provide additional coverage of Capitol Hill events and legislation of importance to the sea services, as well as a forecast of pertinent issues likely to be examined by Congress.
Among the sea-service leaders and other high-ranking officials interviewed or featured in Seapower during the past year were Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and Commander, U.S. European Command; Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Transformation, and Commander, Joint Forces Command; Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thomas H. Collins; Rear Adm. Jay M. Cohen, chief of naval research; Vice Adm. Phillip M. Balisle, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command; and Rear Adm. Patrick M. Stillman, program executive of the Coast Guard’s Integrated Deepwater System.
Marketing and Regional Activities
The Navy League rolled out several new workshops and other field initiatives in 2004 to provide expanded headquarters support for area, state and regional activities. New workshops included “Council Strategic Planning,” “Council Tax-Exempt Status,” “How to Make Presentations,” “Recruiting and Retaining Younger Members,” and “Public Education.”
In January 2005, a Grassroots Legislative Workshop and Council Annual Planning Retreat will be introduced. There are now 16 training workshops covering a broad spectrum of council operations including, but not limited to, such topics as management and governance, membership recruiting and retention, strategic planning, fundraising and electronic communications. All workshops and Council Guides are posted on the Navy League website under “Navy League Councils/Council Resources.”
The bimonthly electronic “Council Alert” newsletter continues to provide field leaders with timely information on best practices and good ideas, new programs and workshops, national meeting notices, membership benefits and promotions, timely announcements of rebate mailing, insurance, and various topics of interest to the field.
“Council Alerts” are posted on the Navy League website under “Navy League Councils/Council Alerts.” The alerts are available to anyone with an e-mail address who wants to be included on the distribution.
Members of the team continued to attend council, area and regional meetings to support training workshops and to improve communications between headquarters and the field. The Navy League website continues to serve as an excellent planning resource — an all-purpose “first stop” for new council officers and others seeking information about the Navy League. Among the data included on the website under Navy League Councils are lists of adopted ships, Naval Sea Cadet Corps units and other youth groups; ship commissioning events; council guides and training workshops; the Navy League Operations Manual; business-card order forms; Navy League graphics; council change forms; and the council information notebook.
The Marketing Department continued the new member-acquisition effort through a series of direct-mail campaigns and the placement of advertisements in various publications. The “Operation Family Connection” campaign showed promising results: for each new member the Navy League acquired, a prepaid international calling card was sent to a forward-deployed sailor or Marine so he or she could stay in touch with family and friends.
The two Navy League-sponsored youth programs, the Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) and Navy League Cadet Corps (NLCC), continue to grow. More than 10,000 Cadets are now enrolled in 374 NSCC and NLCC units in the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam.
The NSCC, established in 1958, was chartered by Congress in 1962 as a nonprofit youth-training organization. The NLCC is not covered by the federal charter. All of the nation’s armed forces, including the reserve components, provide training and facilities support for both programs. Membership is open to boys and girls ages 11 through 13 for the NLCC and 13 through 17 for the NSCC.
Most Cadet training is carried out at local naval or military facilities and supervised by carefully selected volunteer officers and instructors, many of them active-duty or retired military personnel. That training is supplemented with summer training, starting with a two-week recruit-orientation program encompassing a broad range of military subjects. These include skills and operational specialties ranging from basic seamanship, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and swimming to health care, aviation training and law enforcement. At-sea training on Navy ships or Coast Guard cutters often is available as well.
For the fourth year, federal funding was available for Cadet training. Almost 2,400 Sea Cadets and more than 1,200 League Cadets participated in recruit and orientation training at 18 regional military bases or stations, and another 4,000 received advanced training at more than 50 other bases and stations. In addition, 41 U.S. Cadets and their adult escorts, participated in an international exchange program with Sea Cadet units from overseas. The federal funding provided was used almost exclusively to offset increasingly expensive berthing and messing costs.
Since 1975, more than $210,000 has been provided to more than 178 Cadets who received NSCC college scholarships. A large number of Cadets also have received appointments to one of the service academies or have won Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarships. There are now almost 500 former Sea Cadets enrolled at the U.S. Naval Academy or in the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program.