The April General Membership Luncheon meeting was held at the Ted Constant Center, ODU on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. The guest speaker was U.S. Congresswoman Elaine Luria, who serves Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Representative Luria began by introducing herself and discussing her backgrounds and combined naval experience. She also stressed her office’s recognition and positive focus on ship repair as a critical component of national security and Virginia’s economy.
Representative Luria began by speaking about one of the Navy’s biggest concerns currently, which is China’s aggression towards Taiwan. She noted that China could try to take Taiwan by force within the next 5 years, yet we keep seeing budget cuts within the Navy. This year’s budget proposes decommissioning 24 ships and only building 8. She stressed the need for additional investments in the Navy.
Representative Luria also spoke of the declining Navy fleet. We are seeing more ships being decommissioned than we are building. She mentioned we will lose 20+ DDG’s by 2026 if we don’t start the modernization process. She explained that if the Navy continues this course, it will look very different by 2035 and be much less capable. Specifically, the Navy will be down 2300 VLS cells by 2035.
During the Q&A, Representative Luria was asked if she thought it was too late to turn the tide in the downturn of ships. She explained that we need to act quickly, and that we really need to elevate the sense of urgency. Navy ships are currently in a gray zone combat area every single day in the Pacific. We need presence there. We need ships to deploy.
Representative Luria closed by thanking those in attendance and praising the VSRA membership for their commitment to ensuring the Navy is maintained, modernized, and ready. She asked that anyone with additional questions or concerns reach out to her Virginia Beach office at 757-364-7650 or to her area District Director, Charles Stuppard, at Charles.Stuppard@mail.house.gov.
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