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The February General Membership Luncheon meeting was held at the Portsmouth Renaissance hotel on Tuesday, February 22, 2022. The guest speaker was Congressman Rob J. Wittman, who serves the First Congressional District of Virginia.

Rob began by thanking the Association for the invitation to speak. He applauded the Ship Repair Industry’s efforts, stating that the brunt of maintenance delays were on Congress. He continued that this is because the country has been operating under Continued Resolution since September 2021 and is now on its third. As a result, he stated on-time delivery is hindered because this puts things in suspended animation.

Rob then talked about how the FY2022 budget focuses on modernizing our Navy. He said policymakers often put forth aspirational, grand totals of ships, but that the best plan prioritizes repair and shipyard modernization to ensure ship readiness and to avoid ships tied up or waiting for maintenance.

Furthermore, he discussed how the Navy is on a 20-year window track towards modernization. However, he believes, without additional financial focus on modernizing shipyards, especially with the limited current number of dry docks, this time frame may prove impractical to achieve set goals.

Concluding his presentation, Rob stressed the importance of cultivating better relations between the Ship Repair Industry and MARMC and other involved Navy organizations. After taking several questions, Rob closed by thanking VSRA and all members in attendance for their commitment to keeping the Navy fleet at its foremost. Tom Epley announced that, in appreciation for his presentation, VSRA donated in his honor to the Semper Fi & America’s Fund and presented him with VSRA memorabilia as a parting gift.

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