Navy League National President John R. Fisher has announced the start of a major new NLUS membership recruiting campaign
"that begins immediately and doesn't end until we have met our goal, and then some." That goal--the most ambitious in Navy League
history--is to have "100,000 members enrolled by our 100th anniversary in the year 2002," Fisher said.
The membership-acquisition program and several related initiatives will be spearheaded over the next two years by the Marketing
Department at NLUS Headquarters in Arlington, Va., "but this campaign will succeed only with the full support of each and every
member of each and every council," Fisher said. "An all-hands effort is definitely required. We are seeking literally tens of thousands
of new members. But we must also retain all of our current members during the next two years and beyond."
The "imperative" driving the recruiting program is not NLUS membership numbers alone, Fisher continued, but "the needs of the sea
services. ... The facts are clear: (1) The young men and women serving today in all of the nation's armed forces are overworked,
overcommitted, and underappreciated; and (2) All of our nation's armed services have been underfunded for almost 15
years--procurement and RDT&E [research, development, test, and evaluation] programs have been curtailed or stretched out, the
training and O&M [operations and maintenance] budget accounts also are well below what they should be, there also are numerous
spare parts shortages, and recruiting and retention problems are on the increase.
"The biggest and by far most serious problem facing our defense establishment, though," Fisher said, "is the lack of civilian support.
All recent public opinion polls and surveys show that national defense ranks very low on the lists of 'Major Concerns of the American
People.' This problem is compounded considerably by the fact that, year after year, there are fewer members of the House and
Senate who have ever served in the military. The same is true of the executive branch, of course, and of the American people as a
"This is where the Navy League comes in. We have the means and the opportunity--and the obligation--as America's foremost
naval/maritime educational organization, to lead the way in educating our fellow citizens, the media, and our nation's elected leaders in
the executive and legislative branches of government about the continued importance of seapower, both naval and commercial, to our
national defense and America's economic well-being. With 330 councils throughout the United States and overseas, and
approximately 70,000 current members--many of them holding positions of prominence in their home communities--we are in an
ideal position to help change the national agenda.
"The best way to start is by building up our own strength in numbers--100,000 members by 2002 is the immediate goal, but we
should consider that only 'the first milestone.' Because what we are talking about is the future of the sea services, not just in the next
two years or so, but in the next decade and the next generation."
To "jump-start" the new membership acquisition campaign, said National Executive Director Charles L. Robinson the League's board
of directors has approved two special membership rates designed to improve both recruiting and retention:
(1) Current Members are being offered a reduced life-membership rate of $300.00 for an individual, or $450.00 for a husband-wife
life membership. In addition, the spouse of a current life member can become a life member for only $150.00. "These rates represent
a substantial discount of almost 25 percent from our regular life-membership rates," Robinson said, "and will remain in effect until 31
(2) New Members are now being offered a special multiyear package that includes reduced membership rates for the second and
third years' dues. "A one-year membership will still cost $33.00," Robinson said, "but a two-year membership will now cost only
$59.00, and a three-year membership will cost only $79.00." The lower multiyear-membership rates are available only to new
members, Robinson emphasized.
NLUS Director of Marketing Donald A. Sacarob said that "everyone at national headquarters stands ready to help in any way we
can to assist in the '100,000 by 2002' program. As in all such programs, though, the bulk of the work will have to be done by Navy
League councils and individual members. Fortunately, we have many, many members who already are doing an outstanding job in
this area, 'beyond the call of duty,' by selling the Navy League itself, and the seapower message, in their home communities. They
consider it a personal challenge and have demonstrated a will to succeed. All we need to go over the top in this campaign is to give
them the tools they need--which is exactly what we intend to do."