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Defense Cuts: A Very High Risk
Congressman Forbes has developed “Defense Cuts: A Very High Risk,” a booklet to outline the current status of our national defense, the threats we face, and the proposed cuts to our military. The booklet was designed to assist policy makers and interested individuals in understanding the severe impact defense cuts will have on our national security.

Read more.

Audit the DoD
Congressman Forbes has called for an audit of the Department of the Defense. More...
Forbes Op-Ed in USA Today
Read Congressman Forbes’ op-ed “Cut the debt, but don’t undercut our military.” More...
Strong Defense, Strong America
Read about Congressman Forbes' commitment to a strong national defense and the protection of those who defend America.More...

Met with the Commander of Pacific Command. Congressman Forbes met with the Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Sam Locklear, to discuss the priorities for his command. Congressman Forbes has led a bipartisan Asia-Pacific Oversight Series for the last 5 months to help the House Armed Services Committee gain a better understanding of U.S. security interests in the region. 

 

Addressed defense conference on importance of a strong military. Congressman Forbes addressed Bloomberg Government’s annual defense conference, where he discussed his vision of a robust American military capable of defending U.S. citizens and interests around the world.

 

Met with President of Shipbuilder’s Council of America. Congressman Forbes met with the President of the Shipbuilder’s Council of America to discuss two recent studies about the economic impact of the maritime industry in Virginia.

Wrote letter to Sec. Hagel regarding upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review
. Congressman Forbes wrote a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel regarding the Department’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).  The QDR is DoD’s four-year review of its force structure and future plans.  Congressman Forbes encouraged Sec. Hagel to use the QDR to advance DoD’s long-term planning and offer a critical assessment of the force structure and capabilities necessary to meet 21st century challenges.

 

Delivered keynote address at National Training & Simulation Association Summit. Congressman Forbes, founder and co-chairman of the Congress Modeling and Simulation Caucus, spoke about effective and affordable training opportunities offered by modeling and simulation technologies to our military, business, and education communities.

Spoke at Defense Think Tank Budget Briefing for Congress. Congressman Forbes spoke before an audience of industry, academics and military officers at a briefing by members of several different defense think tanks on the Pentagon’s current fiscal challenges. Congressman Forbes warned of the damage being done to our military by arbitrary budget reductions rather than strategic considerations. He also highlighted the role of game-changing technologies that can cement America’s military advantages in the coming decades. As Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes continues to work with Congress and government agencies to find effective, sensible ways of protecting U.S. national security.

Met with President of Shipbuilder’s Council of America

. Congressman Forbes met with Matthew Paxton, President of the Shipbuilder’s Council of America, about challenges to the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base. The U.S. shipbuilding industry accounts for more than 400,000 jobs and contributes about $36 billion annually to the U.S. economy. More than 63,000 Virginians are involved in shipbuilding and repair. Shipbuilding continues to be of utmost importance to our economic and national security.



Spoke in support of commissaries.

Congressman Forbes 

spoke

 on the House floor to oppose any effort to shut down Department of Defense-run commissaries.

Each year, commissaries provide an average 31 percent savings for our military families on a wide variety of goods and consequently serve as a valuable recruitment and retention tool for our all-volunteer force. Congressman Forbes believes there are better ways to address our fiscal problems than taking from the benefits our servicemembers rely on.

Led bipartisan letter warning against cuts to America’s aircraft carrier fleet. Congressman Forbes led a bipartisan letter with 10 other members of Congress to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel cautioning him against reducing the size of our carrier fleet. Congressman Forbes believes a strong carrier fleet and aircraft carrier industrial base is critical to U.S. national security.

Focused on an Asia-Pacific strategy. Congressman Forbes, as part of his bipartisan Asia-Pacific Oversight Series, initiated a recent Armed Services Committee hearing on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region. Three senior officials from the Department of Defense testified on recent military, diplomatic, and technological developments in the region and next steps for the U.S policy.  Congressman Forbes also met with a Japanese delegation to the U.S. led by Nobuo Kishi, the Parliamentary Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, to discuss the strength of the U.S.-Japanese partnership and steps both countries can take to address security issues in the Asia-Pacific.

Urged relocation of AFRICOM Headquarters to U.S. Congressman Forbes joined 17 other Members of Congress in writing a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to urge him to move Africa Command’s headquarters to the U.S. According to both the Department of Defense and Government Accountability Office, moving AFRICOM to the U.S. from Germany would save approximately $60 to $70 million annually and could create up to 4,300 American jobs. Congressman Forbes continues to work with Congress and government agencies to find effective, economical ways of maintaining America’s global reach.

Co-Chaired joint hearing on Chinese threats to U.S. space assets. Congressman Forbes co-chaired a joint Seapower and Strategic Forces hearing on rising challenges to America’s use of space. Three prominent scholars briefed the members of the subcommittees on technological developments in China that threaten peaceful use of space, and the panelists discussed steps that could be taken to safeguard U.S. satellites. Access to space enhances America’s warfighting capabilities and Congressman Forbes believes we must take any challenge to our interest in space seriously.

Co-Chaired joint hearing on Chinese maritime disputes. Congressman Forbes convened a joint hearing with the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on territorial disputes in the maritime areas surrounding China. A panel of experts discussed China’s naval modernization and growing assertiveness in its Near Seas and highlighted the challenges recent provocations pose to U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific.  Congressman Forbes continues working with Congress and U.S. partners to find ways to maintain stability in the Asia-Pacific.

Met with the Acting Maritime Administrator about the U.S. maritime fleet. Congressman Forbes met with acting MARAD Administrator Paul Jaenichen and discussed the Maritime Administration’s contributions to U.S. overseas commerce and defense logistics. The Maritime Administration is part of the Department of Transportation and is responsible for both overseeing U.S. maritime commerce and maintaining strategic sealift capabilities.

Met with the President of AUSTAL USA on shipbuilding issues.

Congressman Forbes met with a delegation representing the U.S. shipbuilding industry led by Craig Perciavalle, President of AUSTAL USA. AUSTAL USA manufactures the Littoral Combat Ship and Joint-High Speed Vessel at its facility in Mobile, Alabama.

 


 
Supported passage of the annual defense policy bill.

Congressman Forbes supported passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill, agreed to by both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees was added as an amendment to

H.R. 3304

 , and passed as

H.Res.441

. As Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes worked to include within the bill, provisions to restore full funding for Navy ship maintenance, protect our Fleet’s readiness, and preserve the ship-repair industrial base. 

Key provisions of the NDAA

 include rejecting a burdensome Base Realignment and Closure process, preventing the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States, and combating sexual assault by establishing minimum sentencing guidelines for military sexual assault cases and increasing the protections for whistleblowers.  

The bill passed by a vote of 350-69.

Spoke at the annual modeling and simulation event

.

Congressman Forbes spoke to researchers, industry leaders, and military personnel at the annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference about the growing role of technology-based training in both defense and private industry. As Chairman of the Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus, Congressman Forbes has been a leader in supporting the modeling and simulation industry.

 

 

Delivered Remarks at the US Naval Institute's Defense Forum. 

Congressman Forbes

spoke

about the critical importance of sustaining US military power to defend American interests at a U.S. Naval Institute conference attended by military personnel, veterans, and defense experts. He explained how recent spending cuts, driven by political concerns rather than strategy-driven assessments, are already putting our servicemen and women at greater risk at a time when threats to the US and its allies are growing.  As Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes is focused on maintaining a world-class Navy that can defend U.S. commercial and security interests around the world.

 

 

Chaired a Hearing on Chinese Naval Modernization. 

Congressman Forbes convened a Seapower

subcommittee panel

of experts to discuss growing Chinese naval strength and challenges to U.S. policy in the Asia-Pacific region. The Congressman is interested in finding solutions Congress can take to meet these challenges and reassure our regional partners. As Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee and Co-Chair of the Congressional China Caucus, Congressman Forbes will continue working to educate members of Congress on ways to mitigate threats to regional stability and American interests.

 

 

Supported relief from sequestration

. Congressman supported

H.J.Res.59

to provide $63 billion in relief from arbitrary sequestration cuts, which have had a devastating effect on Virginia and our national defense.

 

 

Ensured military retirees receive benefits

. Congressman cosponsored two bills to ensure that military retirees receive the benefits they deserve.  The first,

H.R.3790

, completely strikes the section of the budget agreement that provided for the reduction in the annual cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA).  The second,

H.R.3789

, exempts all veterans who medically retire, those who receive Combat Related Specialty Compensation (CRSC), those who receive Concurrent Receipt Pay (CRDP), and surviving spouses in receipt of payments under the Survivor Benefit Program (SBP) from the COLA reduction.

 

 

 

Hosted a Discussion on Asia-Pacific Stability.

Congressman Forbes and Congresswoman Hanabusa (D-HI) met with Dr. Michael Green, Vice President for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Dr. Green briefed the two members on recent developments in East Asia and what the U.S. could do to uphold its interests in the region.

 

 

Attended a Classified Readiness Briefing on America's National Security.

Congressman Forbes led an effort to establish a classified readiness briefing for the entire House of Representatives, so that all Members are fully aware of the devastation sequestration cuts will have on our defense policy.  The briefing focused on the current state of readiness of the combatant commanders to meet their wartime missions, the services’ readiness to provide trained and ready forces, and the challenges presented by sequestration.

 

 

Met with Marine Corps Commandant, General Amos. 

Congressman Forbes met with the Commandant of the Marine Corps to discuss sequestration and its impact on military readiness.  The Congressman and General Amos discussed ways to minimize the crippling effects of sequestration on readiness and how best to preserve the capabilities of our Marine Corps.

Delivered Remarks at the USNI Foreign Naval Attaché Event.  Congressman Forbes spoke about the key role American naval power will continue to play in the future to an assembly of naval attachés from over 50 countries.  The navies of America and its allies will continue to play a pivotal role in maintaining the safety and security of the sea, whether tackling piracy, deterring regional aggression, or swiftly coming to the aid of an ally after a natural disaster.  As Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, helping to deepen these relationships is a high priority for Congressman Forbes.

Hosted a Meeting to Discuss Pentagon Strategic Thinking.  Congressman Forbes met with the director of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, Andrew Marshall.  Director Marshall has overseen every major revolution in military thinking for over forty years.  The Pentagon has suggested closing ONA, a move which Congressman Forbes strongly opposes.  Congressman Forbes joined other Members in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel rejecting any move that would compromise or dilute the influence of net assessment on strategic thinking.  The Congressman will continue to fight for long-term, strategic thinking in the Pentagon.

Hosted a Roundtable Discussion with Asian Ambassadors.  Congressman Forbes was tapped by House Armed Services Chairman McKeon and Ranking Member Smith to lead an “Asia-Pacific Oversight Series.”  One key component of this 5-month series was sitting down with the Ambassadors of six important Asian allies and partners to learn about their concerns and see how Congress can more effectively build partnerships in the region.  Following the meeting, Congressman Forbes said the ambassadors were “incredibly appreciative that they were at the table [sharing] what they view as their priorities in the region…That had an impact in and of itself.”

Discussed America's Global Interests with the Commander of European Command. Congressman Forbes met with General Phillip M. Breedlove, US European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe.  The Congressman and General Breedlove also discussed the future of NATO, security challenges in Europe, and the readiness challenges he is facing under sequestration.

Chosen to Lead an Asia-Pacific Oversight Series. Congressman Forbes and Congressman Colleen Hanabusa were chosen by the Armed Services Committee to lead a bipartisan Committee oversight effort of American interests in the Asia-Pacific region. The goal of this series is to hold hearings to shift national attention toward the long-term trends that stand to affect American and global security in the Asia-Pacific region.  Chief among these is China's rapid military modernization.  A rising China will have a large strategic impact on our national security and commercial interests throughout the region. Congressman Forbes has played a leading role in the Congress to ensure policymakers are educated on how these issues stand to impact U.S. interests. Congressman Forbes also delivered a keynote address at the American Enterprise Institute where he discussed the Administration's strategy in the Asia-Pacific.  

Delivered a Keynote Address at the Annual Foreign Policy Initiative Forum.  Congressman Forbes joined Diplomats from Australia and Japan to speak at the Foreign Policy Initiative's annual forum on a panel entitled “Assessing the Asia Rebalance.” As part of the Armed Services Committee's oversight Series on the Asia-Pacific, Congressman Forbes joined a group of Asian Ambassadors to discuss America's long-term national security interests in the region.

Defended fundamental religious freedoms for our military servicemembers.  Congressman Forbes led 26 Members in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, seeking an explanation as to why chaplains who serve members of the military on a contract basis were not permitted to continue working during the government shutdown in October.  The free exercise of religion is a fundamental human right that is not suspended during a lapse in government appropriations. 

Supported victims of the Fort Hood shootings.  Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Honoring the Ft. Hood Hero’s Act, H.R. 3111, which declares that the 2011 report issued by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, correctly labeled the attack on November 5, 2009, as the deadliest terrorist attack within the United States since September 11, 2001.  The bill requires the Secretary of the Army to award Purple Hearts to those soldiers who were killed or wounded in the attack, and requires the Secretary of Defense to award the Secretary of Defense Medal of Freedom (Purple Heart equivalent for civilians) to civilians who were killed or wounded. Under this legislation, victims and families of victims of the Fort Hood attack will be eligible for the same benefits as those that are killed or wounded in a combat zone.

Chaired Seapower Hearing on the Navy's Shipbuilding Plans. Congressman Forbes continued his efforts to ensure our Navy shipbuilding plan is fully-funded by chairing a Seapower and Projection Forces hearing  entitled, "Assessing the Navy's 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan."  A bipartisan defense panel estimated that it will take 346 ships to execute our national security strategy; however, testimony from the Congressional Budget Office indicated that the Navy will end up with a fleet of only approximately 230 ships, should sequestration continue.

Requested briefing for all Members on impact of sequestration.  After hearing testimony from the Joint Chiefs of Staff that they could not meet the requirements necessary to comply with the our defense strategy under full sequestration, Congressman Forbes sent a bipartisan letter to House leadership requesting a classified briefing with the Joint Chiefs and the entire House membership. A briefing of this nature will allow all Members to gain a full appreciation for the devastation sequestration will have on our defense policy.

Questioned witnesses on sequestration and the Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR). Congressman Forbes participated in a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Planning for Sequestration in Fiscal Year 2014 and Perspectives of the Military Services on the Strategic Choices and Management Review. The uniformed leadership of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps testified on how sequestration will affect their individual services and the current state of readiness. When asked whether their services could executive the national defense strategy under another year of sequestration, each one of them responded, “No.” 

Addressed experts on the defense industrial base (DIB). Congressman Forbes addressed defense experts and media at an event sponsored by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments on strategies for identifying the critical areas of DIB competition and capabilities. The DIB is not a spigot that can simply be turned on and off, and there are long-term costs to short-term decision making. It is necessary to replace current short-term planning with long-term strategy, and although this is a difficult task that faces both bureaucratic and budgetary hurdles, it is a necessary one to preserve America’s competitive advantages.

Worked to increase Modeling and Simulation (M&S) awareness. Congressman Forbes met with Admiral Robb from the National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA) to discuss increased integration of M&S across industries from defense to energy to health care. There are few industries that would not benefit from the increased use of M&S. These technologies increase efficiency and reduce costs, playing a vital role in maintaining our nation’s competitive edge in the future.  

Met with the Air Force Chief of Staff to discuss his trip to China. General Welsh recently spent a week meeting with his counterparts in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force as one of several visits by U.S. senior military leadership and reciprocal Chinese military leadership visits to the United States. Upon Gen. Welsh’s return, he met with Congressman Forbes to discuss the U.S. – China military-to-military relationship and the opportunities and limits of expanded cooperation.

Met with the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance. Congressman Forbes met with Vice Admiral Ted Branch, whose portfolio includes intelligence, cyber, information technology, maritime domain awareness, and space for the U.S. Navy.

Chaired hearing on undersea warfare capabilities and challenges. Congressman Forbes chaired a hearing of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee to examine the current state of undersea warfare capabilities as well as challenges facing the program. Rear Admiral Breckenridge and Rear Admiral Johnson testified on trends in the undersea force structure, shortfalls in undersea forward presence, and the Ohio-class replacement program. The Navy’s continued dominance in undersea warfare must be a major priority in the years ahead.

Supported services at airports for our servicemembers. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 1095, which directs the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security to transfer unclaimed money recovered at airport security checkpoints to nonprofit organizations to provide places of rest and recuperation at airports for members of the Armed Forces and their families. Currently, unclaimed money is retained by the Transportation Security Administration for civil aviation security.

Protected dual military technicians from sequestration. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 1014, which amends the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 to provide that military technicians shall be included in military personnel accounts for purposes of any sequestration order issued by the President after January 1, 2013. In this way, military technicians’ pay will be protected from the effects of sequestration in the same way military personnel accounts are exempted

Chaired a Hearing to Evaluate Navy Surface Force Readiness. Congressman Forbes Chaired a Hearing on Ensuring Navy Surface Force Effectiveness with Limited Maintenance Resources. Members of the U.S. Navy testified in front of the Subcommittees on Readiness and Seapower and Projection Forces on the readiness of Naval Surface Forces. Defense budget challenges continue to pose an immediate threat to surface ship readiness and affect the greater readiness of the U.S. Navy as a whole. The Congressman has continued to fight against sequestration to prevent current budget limitations from being an even greater detriment to national security. 

Questioned Witnesses on DoD’s Strategic Choices and Management Review. Congressman Forbes participated in a House Armed Services Committee Hearing on the Initial Conclusions Formed by the Defense Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR). The Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter and the Vice Chariman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr. testified in front of the Committee on the long-term devastating effects of sequestration. The Congressman voted against and has continued to fight against sequestration, knowing its devastating effects on military readiness and modernization will lead to the demise of America's great-power status. The SCMR process was called for by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in order to prepare the Department of Defense for the various budgetary scenarios the department may face as a result of sequestration.

Supported funding for national security. Congressman Forbes supported the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2014, H.R. 2397, which provides funding for programs that are vital to the national security of our nation.This bill passed by a vote of 315-109.

Voted to prohibit use of federal funds for targeting U.S. Citizens personal communications. Congressman Forbes supported an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2014, H.R. 2397, which prohibits any funds from being used to acquire or store content of an American’s communications. This amendment passed by a vote of 409-12. 

Met with the Director of Undersea Warfare. Congressman Forbes met with Rear Admiral Richard P. Breckenridge, Director of Undersea Warfare and Strategic Programs. Anti-submarine and mine warfare, two components of undersea warfare, are vital to the United States’ ability to penetrate anti-access/area-denial areas of operation. The Congressman is a strong supporter of the Virginia-class program and the planned Ohio-class Replacement Program.

Questioned Witnesses on the Administration’s 'Rebalance' to the Asia-Pacific. Congressman Forbes participated in the Full House Armed Services Committee Hearing on Rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific Region and Implications for U.S. National Security. Four experts in the field from various organizations testified in front of the committee on the importance of the Asia-Pacific region. The Congressman has been a strong advocate for American engagement in the region and upholding our commitments to our allies and partners.

Chaired Hearing on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program. Congressman Forbes chaired a hearing on the Littoral Combat Ship Hearing in front of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces. Three experts from the Department of Defense and U.S. Government Accountability Office testified in front of the Subcommittee on the development and acquisition of the LCS as well as continuing problems with the program. The Congressman questioned the witnesses on the concurrency between LCS seaframes and modules and the formulation of a realistic concept of operations. The LCS has a critical role to play in the Navy’s future and it is incumbent upon the Seapower Subcommittee to ensure the success of this program.

Continued fight against sequestration and furloughs. Congressman Forbes delivered a speech on the House floor condemning the furloughs of our defense civilian workforce, as more than 650,000 DoD civilians began the first of their 11 unpaid furlough days earlier this month.  Additionally, Congressman Forbes addressed officials from the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs during the Joint Hearing on DoD and VA Collaboration to Assist Service Members Returning to Civilian Life. The Congressman demanded answers regarding the negative effects of sequestration and the furloughs of civilian federal employees on the transfer of personnel records between the Departments, as well as how furloughs were impacting transition assistance programs for servicemembers transferring out of the military. 

Met with the Air Force Chief of Staff.
Congressman Forbes met with General Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, to discuss Air Force priorities. As the consequences of sequestration become clearer, the Congressman is working with the services to determine the extent of the effects on readiness, personnel, modernization, and infrastructure. General Welsh serves as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipping of 690,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas.  

Met with the Director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program
. Congressman Forbes met with Admiral John Richardson, Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, to discuss our Nuclear Navy – aircraft carriers and submarines – and the importance of training and maintenance. Sequestration cuts and reduced budgets have resulted in a decreased ability to sustain current operations and meet warfighting requirements.

Supported Modeling & Simulation in Congress
. Congressman Forbes, Chairman of the Congressional Modeling & Simulation (M&S) Caucus, in conjunction with the National Training and Simulation Association supported the 8th Annual Modeling and Simulation Expo on Capitol Hill. The Expo is the premier M&S event in the nation’s capital, bringing together exhibitors from diverse industries to showcase M&S applications to lawmakers in an effort to promote the development of these high-tech tools in a growing number of fields and specialties. M&S tools can provide powerful planning and training to our forces, and the use of simulation training has yielded a military that is better trained, more capable, and more confident. This technology is transforming America’s economy and enhancing its national security. M&S continues to be a critical driver of the United States’ innovation economy, a role that will only grow in the years to come.

Urged greater transparency of attacks in Benghazi. Congressman Forbes attended a classified House Armed Services Committee briefing on Benghazi to better understand what happened leading up to, during, and after the events that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, two embassy security personnel, and an U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer. Contradicting accounts of the events of that day, especially in regard to White House talking points and activities of U.S. Africa Command have led to confusion. Congressman Forbes is working to better understand the situation in order to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

Supported increased protections for victims of military sexual assault. Congressman Forbes supported H.R. 1864, bipartisan legislation which provides whistleblower protections for victims of military sexual assault. The legislation also strengthens existing protection laws to clarify that victims of sexual assault crimes are protected from punishment for reporting sexual assault. Congressman Forbes, who is a Member of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, is actively working to find the most effective policies to prevent sexual assault and protect the victims of these egregious acts. This bill passed by a vote of 423-0.

Addressed members of the American Logistics Association (ALA). Congressman Forbes spoke at a Government Relations Forum hosted by the ALA, a non-profit association whose mission is to improve the business opportunities in the military marketplace. Congressman Forbes emphasized his commitment to reversing sequestration, an unnecessary across-the-board cut to a military that has disproportionately borne the brunt of deficit reduction in the past several years. Commissaries and post exchanges are vital to sustaining the quality of life for our men and women in uniform, their families, and our veterans. In an all-volunteer force, where the military is competing with the private sector for our best and brightest, neglecting quality of life issues is the surest way to ensure a substandard force.

Met with Shipyard leadership from Newport News Shipbuilding and AUSTAL. Congressman Forbes recently met with the President of Newport News Shipbuilding, Matt Mulherin and CEO of Austal, Andrew Bellamy. Congressman Forbes remains committed to building a strong naval fleet. In the coming decades, the U.S. Navy will play a vital role in preserving national security, and current investments are necessary to ensure that the U.S. Navy will be ready and able to meet future challenges. Newport News Shipbuilding is the sole designer, builder, and refueler of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and one of two providers of U.S. Navy submarines. Austal designs, constructs, and maintains revolutionary platforms such as the Littoral Combat Ship and Joint High Speed Vessel for the U.S. Navy.

Met with members of the Navy League. Congressman Forbes met with the National Executive Director of the Navy League, Captain Bruce Butler, to discuss our nation’s sea services and how national economic and security interests are inextricably tied to the freedom of the seas. Congressman Forbes is committed to the Navy’s League’s mission of serving, supporting, and standing with all the sea services, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S.-flag Merchant Marine. The sea services will be called upon in the coming decades to play a larger role in preserving U.S. national and global security, and current investments must be made to ensure continued support for all the services.

Met with a Senior Member of the Japanese Congress. Congressman Forbes met with Mr. Katsuyuki Kawai, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Japanese Diet and former Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. The two representatives discussed current U.S.-Japan security issues and the current situation in East Asia. China’s current posturing has destabilized the region, and strong relations with our allies are necessary to hedge against China’s growing strength.

Supported the Passage of the FY14 National Defense Authorization Act. Congressman Forbes supported the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014, H.R. 1960, which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense. As Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, he worked to include within the bill provisions to restore full funding for Navy ship maintenance, protect our Fleet’s readiness, and preserve the ship-repair industrial base.  Key provisions of the NDAA include rejecting a burdensome Base Realignment and Closure process, preventing the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States, and combating sexual assault by establishing minimum sentencing guidelines for military sexual assault cases and increasing the protections for whistleblowers.  This bill passed by a vote of 315-108. 

Blocked Increases to TRICARE Co-Pays and Military Pay Caps. Congressman Forbes fought to defeat the President’s proposed changes to military pay which called for a one-percent pay cap, as well as the President’s proposed increases to TRICARE co-pays. Congressman Forbes believes that placing the burden of our fiscal challenges on the backs of our current and former servicemembers is wrong, especially considering the fact that our nation has asked so much of them over the last decade. Defense spending in support of our men and women in uniform is not the cause of our fiscal woes and cutting the benefits earned by our brave servicemembers is not the solution.

Received the Navy's Distinguished Public Service Award. Congressman Forbes was presented with the Navy’s highest civilian honor, the Distinguished Public Service Award, by Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy. The Distinguished Public Service Award is given to an individual who has shown exceptionally distinguished service of substantial and long-term benefit to the United States Navy and Marine Corps. As a longtime member of the House Armed Services Committee and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Navy-Marine Corps Caucus, the Congressman has been an outspoken advocate for our nation’s military personnel, veterans, and their families. The Congressman had previously received the award from the Secretary of the Navy Gordon England in 2005.

Demanded Transparency on China’s Military Modernization, Participation in RIMPAC 2014. Congressman Forbes introduced two amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014, H.R.1960, regarding U.S.-China military relations, both of which were incorporated into the final bill. China’s military modernization continues rapidly without the necessary transparency to reassure our allies that China intends to play a constructive role within the region. The first amendment calls on China to resolve its territorial disputes peacefully and reaffirms the commitment of the United States to a forward-deployed military presence in the Western Pacific. The second amendment directs the Secretary of the Navy to brief Congress within 30 days on the intended scope of Chinese participation in the bi-annual RIMPAC exercise and its compliance with the provisions of the FY2000 NDAA, which seek to limit China’s exposure to sensitive information obtained through military-to-military contacts.

Protected The Nation's Aircraft Carriers. Congressman Forbes led the effort to defeat an amendment introduced by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) to the FY2014 NDAA, H.R.1960, which would have reduced the Congressional requirement for the number of operational aircraft carriers that the U.S. Navy must have from 11 to 10. Our Nation’s aircraft carrier fleet is the backbone of American forward presence and power projection, providing a global deterrent against aggression and helping to keep the sea lanes open. It is essential that the U.S. maintain its 11 carrier fleet to ensure military readiness, protect our national security, and enable deployments to any region that would require projection of our military power.

Delivered Remarks on Long-Range Strategic Planning. Congressman Forbes spoke at an event for the release of a new report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) titled, “Shaping America’s Future Military: Toward a New Force Planning Construct,” by CSBA Senior Fellow Mark Gunzinger. The Congressman spoke about the looming threat of sequestration and the lack of adequate preparation by the Department of Defense. He said that U.S. national security is greatly compromised by a culture that responds only to the latest crises without a larger vision of where the military should be going to meet the threats of the future. Regarding the current rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, the Congressman emphasized that it is necessary for the United States to anticipate the future military trajectory of Asia and begin building the force structure now that we will need to meet these challenges in the coming decades.

Addressed the Defense Writers Group. Congressman Forbes spoke to a group of about 25 journalists who are part of the Defense Writers Group, answering their questions on defense matters that ranged from the NDAA to broader issues like sexual assault, Guantanamo Bay, cybersecurity, and Syria. The Congressman reiterated his support for our servicemembers, a strong Naval Fleet, and preventing Guantanamo Bay detainees from being transferred to the United States. The Defense Writers Group is an organization of defense journalists from the nation’s leading media outlets.  

Chaired the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee markup. Congressman Forbes, as Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, marked up the FY14 National Defense Authorization Act Seapower Subcommittee’s mark of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Chairman Forbes and Ranking Member Mike McIntyre (D-NC) led the Seapower Subcommittee in producing a mark which designates essential funding and sets priorities for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. The mark supported continued funding for the Ford-class aircraft carrier, authorized procurement of 2 Virginia-class submarines, ensured full funding for Navy ship maintenance, and investing in game-changing technologies like the Navy's Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System (UCLASS) program.

Addressed the Littoral Combat Ship Supplier Base Coalition. Congressman Forbes spoke to LCS defense industry suppliers regarding the major shipbuilding program for the Navy. In addition to discussing the platform, he emphasized the importance of sustaining a healthy shipbuilding industrial base and the need to grow the size of our fleet.

Addressed the Virginian Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Council of Chapters. Congressman Forbes spoke to members of the Virginia Chapter of MOAA, the nation’s largest association of military officers. The MOAA represents the interests of military officers and their families at every stage of their careers. He expressed his gratitude for the continued service and dedication of American servicemen and women and their families and pledged to continue his strong support for veterans, military retirees, and active military members.

Discussed the Navy’s future composition with senior Navy and Marine Corps leadership. Congressman Forbes attended a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Navy’s FY 2014 budget submission, where he raised concerns about the composition of the Navy’s carrier air wings (CVW) with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert. Congressman Forbes asked questions about the Navy’s future plans for the CVW and the emerging technologies that will be needed to anchor the Air Wing for decades to come.

Chaired a Subcommittee hearing on Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force acquisition programs. Congressman Forbes chaired a hearing of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee to examine the overall decline in Navy shipbuilding and the trajectory of specific programs. The Navy’s top acquisition official, Assistant Secretary Sean Stackley, appeared before Mr. Forbes’ Subcommittee along with uniformed representatives of the Navy, Marines and Air Force

Received an award from the Shipbuilders Council of America. Congressman Forbes was honored with the Maritime Leadership Award from the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) for his work on behalf of a strong shipbuilding industrial base. In his remarks to accept the award, Congressman Forbes spoke about the importance of a vibrant industrial base capable of supporting a powerful Navy.Honored by the Army Women's Foundation. Congressman Forbes was honored with a Special Recognition Award by the Army Women’s Foundation, an advocacy organization for female soldiers, in recognition of his steadfast support for the men and women of the military. Congressman Forbes also addressed the Foundation’s Annual Symposium and paid tribute to the sacrifices women in uniform have made during all of America’s wars, particularly in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Received the Reserve Officers Association's Presidents Award. Congressman Forbes received the President’s Award from the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) for his sustained efforts to prevent and reverse sequestration’s devastating cuts to our national defense. Congressman Forbes was honored to receive an award from one of the nation’s premier military service organizations and pledged to continue his work to ensure that the men and women of the U.S. military receive the best available training, equipment and support.

Attended a hearing on the potential for a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. Congressman Forbes attended a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee’s Readiness Subcommittee to question the need for a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. The hearing featured senior civilian officials from the Departments of Defense, Navy, Army and Air Force. Congressman Forbes, who chaired the Readiness Subcommittee during the 112th Congress, reiterated his opposition to further cuts to our national defense at a time of increased instability abroad and already damaging cuts to defense at home.

Participated in a hearing on the status of U.S. military forces in the Western Hemisphere. Congressman Forbes participated in a House Armed Services Committee hearing featuring Gen. Charles Jacoby, commander of U.S. Northern Command, and Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command. Gen. Jacoby is responsible for the defense of the Continental U.S. and Gen. Kelly handles American military interests in Central and South America. Congressman Forbes used the opportunity to ask Gen. Jacoby about the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program and the Defense Department’s missile defense efforts.

Met with representatives of the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition. Congressman Forbes addressed the annual congressional breakfast of the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition, which represents companies involved in the construction and repair of the Navy’s aircraft carriers. Congressman Forbes took the opportunity - as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee - to reiterate his belief that the aircraft carrier remains the principal instrument of American naval power. The Congressman will continue to support a robust aircraft carrier force and the industrial base necessary to sustain it. 

Chaired a hearing on “Seapower Priorities for the 21st Century.”  Congressman Forbes, as Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, chaired a hearing on the future of the U.S. Navy and the priorities that should guide Navy policymaking in the coming years. Former Navy Secretary John Lehman and Admiral Gary Roughead, former Chief of Naval Operations, testified as to their concerns about the Navy’s diminishing fleet size and the Defense Department’s antiquated procurement system. Both witnesses reiterated that, in order for the Navy to maintain its combat edge in the coming decades, it is critical that we invest in the platforms and technologies today that will define the Navy’s future.

Participated in a hearing on the status of U.S. forces in the Pacific and America’s nuclear arsenal. Congressman Forbes participated in a House Armed Services Committee hearing featuring Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, and General Robert Kehler, commander of U.S. Strategic Command. The Congressman shared his concerns about sequestration’s impact on U.S. readiness in the Pacific and, specifically, the possibility that the U.S. Navy’s submarine force will soon be outnumbered by the Chinese in the Western Pacific. Congressman Forbes remains committed to reversing sequestration’s cuts to our national security while putting the military on a firm foundation for the coming decades.

Addressed two associations of Navy submarine professionals. Congressman Forbes appeared before two important associations representing the submarine manufacturing industry and submarine practitioners to discuss the importance of the Navy’s submarine service and the investments we must make to ensure that our undersea forces maintain their dominance in the years to come. The Congressman addressed both the Submarine Industrial Base Council and the Naval Submarine League, important organizations in the undersea warfare field. He reiterated his support for a technologically-advanced and adequately resourced Navy submarine service capable of promoting U.S. national security interests worldwide.

Named Chairman of Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. Congressman Forbes resumed his work on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), where he now chairs the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces. This Subcommittee has primary jurisdiction over issues concerning the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force. In his position on HASC and as Chairman of the Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes will continue his longstanding work to ensure that the men and women of the military have the resources they need to promote American interests worldwide and prepare for the national security challenges of the future.

Assigned to Subcommittees on House Armed Services Committee.
In addition to serving as Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes will also serve on the Readiness Subcommittee which oversees military readiness, training, and logistics, military construction, installations and family housing issues, and the BRAC process. Congressman Forbes has served on the HASC since taking office in 2001. He had been the Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee since 2011 and Ranking Member of the Readiness Subcommittee from 2008-2010.

Conducted Oversight of Sexual Misconduct at Lackland Air Force Base.
Congressman Forbes attended a House Armed Services Committee hearing on allegations of sexual misconduct at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and Air Force Training Command head Gen. Edward Rice appeared before the Committee to explain the Air Force’s response to these and similar accusations. The Committee also heard from military personnel who have been the victims of sexual assault and questioned senior Air Force leadership on the steps the service is taking to ensure that all Air Force personnel, as well as employees across the Department of Defense, are treated in the fair and professional manner befitting of the U.S. military.

Named as a Conferee for the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act.
Congressman Forbes was selected to be a conferee for the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act conference, a bicameral, bipartisan process where the final defense budget bill is decided by select Senate and House members before a final vote in both chambers.

Met with Representatives from the Virginia Ship Repair Association. Congressman Forbes met with Bill Crow, President of the Virginia Ship Repair Association to discuss the economic impact of the ship repair industry in Virginia. The Virginia Ship Repair Association is a regional trade association representing companies engaged in, or supporting, the ship repair industry in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region. As the Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes is focused on ensuring Virginia's ship repair and maintenance industry remains robust.

Called for immediate action to resolve sequestration
. Congressman Forbes supported the National Security and Job Protection Act, H.R.6365, which requires the president to submit an alternate plan to replace sequestration cuts by October 15th. In May of this year, the House passed a bill to replace sequestration; however, the Senate has yet to act. Due to the devastating nature of these cuts and the need for Congress to act, Congressman Forbes did not support the continuing resolution (CR), H.J.Res.117, which temporarily funds the federal government through March 27, 2013, but fails to address the devastating cuts scheduled to take effect through sequestration on January 2, 2013. The National Security and Job Protection Act passed by a vote of 223-196, while the CR passed by a vote of 329-91.

Called on SECDEF to Protect Servicemember Voting Rights. Congressman Forbes joined 10 Members in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta expressing concern that the Department of Defense has failed to adequately implement the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act.  In 2009, the MOVE Act was enacted to improve all aspects of voting procedures and assistance for military personnel and their families. “The time to address this important matter before the election is expiring and, if immediate action is not taken, tens of thousands of military personnel and their families—if not more—will become disenfranchised and their voices will not be counted during this election cycle,” Forbes said in the letter.

Discussed the Future of our Navy with Undersecretary Bob Work. 
On Thursday, September 12th, Congressman Forbes met with Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work to discuss Navy force posture, shipbuilding, and the long-term outlook for the U.S. Navy.

Held the Administration accountable for its role in resolving defense 'sequestration' cuts.
On Wednesday, August 1st, the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on ‘Sequestration Implementation Options and the Effects on National Defense: Administration Perspectives.’ Testifying at this hearing were the Office of Management & Budget Acting Director Jeffrey Zients and from the Department of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. At this hearing, Congressman Forbes asked Director Zients if he believed it was the President’s responsibility to put forth a realistic proposal to stop sequestration. Congressman Forbes voted against the Budget Control Act in August 2011 that cut $487 billion from defense and set up the sequestration process that threatens to arbitrarily cut another $492 billion from the Department of Defense in January 2012.

Worked to ensure effective use of taxpayer dollars. On Wednesday, August 1st, Congressman Forbes chaired a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on force posture in the U.S. Pacific Command’s area of responsibility. In the hearing, Congressman Forbes highlighted the importance of a credible forward presence in this region and focused on the need to ensure American taxpayer dollars were being used effectively to support this presence.

Supported our nation’s shipbuilding industrial base. This week, members of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta voicing their support for America's nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and the industrial base that supports them. The Members noted that our domestic shipbuilding industry is one of the most critical elements of America’s global defense strategy, is an important component of the nation’s economic health, and contributes significantly to our nation’s manufacturing industrial base, employing tens of thousands of skilled workers nationwide.

Held the Defense Department accountable on civilian workforce requirements.
On Thursday, July 26th, the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee held a hearing on “Civilian Workforce Requirements – Now and Across the Future Years Defense Program.” As Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes focused the hearing on how the Defense Department is forecasting its future workforce requirements and balancing the critical skills required across all components of its workforce.

Warned against consequences of defense cuts. On Wednesday, July 25th, Congressman Forbes spoke at an event co-hosted by the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute and Foreign Policy Initiative entitled, “Defending Defense: Sequestration’s Shadow on the U.S. Military & the Defense Industrial Base.” Members joining Congressman Forbes at this event were Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Congressman Howard ‘Buck’ McKeon (R-CA), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). Congressman Forbes highlighted the consequences of what would occur if sequestration were to take effect and the particularly devastating effect sequestration would have on both large and small defense contractors. Full video - Full transcript.

Called for defense report on homeowners assistance program. Congressman Forbes signed a bi-partisan letter to Defense Secretary Panetta, calling on the Defense Department to issue a report on the Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP). This report, mandated in the FY12 National Defense Authorization Act, was due on June 30th, but has yet to be submitted to Congress.

Highlighted the long-term impact of sequestration on our industrial base.
On Wednesday, July 18th the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on Sequestration Implementation Options and the Effects on National Defense From an Industry Perspective. Witnesses at this hearing included Robert Stevens, Chairman & CEO of Lockheed Martin; Sean O’Keefe, Chairman & CEO of EADS North America; David Hess, President of Pratt & Whitney; and Della Williams, President of Williams-Pyro. Rep. Forbes asked the industry representatives to highlight the long-term impact sequestration will have on our defense industrial base. The industry representatives pointed out that the defense industrial base is reaching a critical point and another round of significant reductions like during the 1990s will have a negative impact on the health of the industrial base.

Continued to educate the public on the potentially dangerous defense cuts mandated by sequestration. On Monday, July 16th Rep. Forbes continued the Defending Our Defender’s listening sessions in Great Falls, Montana where the event was hosted by his colleague Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT). A number of local leaders and defense experts paneled this event which was attended by about 100 citizens from the city of Great Falls. Rep. Forbes spoke on the wide sweeping impact these additional cuts would have on our nation but also highlighted the fact that these cuts would force the U.S. to eliminate its entire fleet of 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles, which would put Malmstrom Air Force Base's missile mission in jeopardy. The next listening session is scheduled for Tuesday, August 21st in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Discussed the role of small businesses in our national security. On Thursday, July 19th Rep. Forbes spoke about DOD and small business at the National Defense Industrial Association’s (NDIA) Legislative Information Division Breakfast. The NDIA hosts these breakfasts to give speakers and NDIA members an opportunity to exchange thoughts and information on a wide range of issues relating to the defense manufacturing industry and national security.

Ensured the readiness of our Navy.
  Congressman Forbes met with the President of the Navy’s Board of Inspection & Survey (INSURV), Rear Admiral Robert O. Wray, Jr., to discuss matters of Navy readiness and to gain a greater understanding of the INSURV process. INSURV was established by Congress 130 years ago to thoroughly inspect our Navy ships and to report on their readiness.

Discussed the importance of aircraft carriers.
 Congressman Forbes authored an OpEd for the prominent naval discussion blog, Information Dissemination, underscoring the critical capability nuclear-power aircraft carriers provide the nation, and offered his thoughts on the future of the carrier's strike mission. The OpEd is available in its entirety here.

Provided long term guidance on America’s security commitment to the Asia-Pacific.
Congressman Forbes was the keynote speaker for a panel discussion hosted by the Heritage Foundation entitled, “Resourcing America’s Long-Term Security Commitment to the Asia-Pacific.” At this event, Congressman Forbes highlighted the bi-partisan nature of the need for an effective Asia-Pacific strategy but emphasized his concern that the size of the U.S. Navy continues to decline even while the global demand for naval forces has increased. The event in its entirety can be found here.

Questioned the Air Force on proposed force structure reductions.
  Congressman Forbes chaired a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on Air Force Aircraft Force Structure Reductions.  Chairman Forbes and Members of the subcommittee questioned two panels regarding this year’s Air Force budget request that proposed significant reductions in the service’s aircraft inventory.  Congressman Forbes stressed his disagreement with the short-sighted, budget-driven decisions by Air Force and Defense Department leadership which ultimately resulted in these proposed force structure cuts.

Recognized significant career milestone for leadership at Ft. Lee.
  Congressman Forbes submitted a statement for the Congressional Record recognizing the outstanding achievements of Brigadier General Gwen Bingham. BG Bingham was recently selected as the first woman ever to take command of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The White Sands Missile Range encompasses nearly 3,200 square miles and is the largest military installation in the United States, used by the Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA, and other government agencies and private enterprises for research, development, and training.  BG Bingham currently serves as Quartermaster General and Commandant of the U.S. Army Quartermaster School at Fort Lee where she has been assigned since November 2010. She is also the first woman ever to hold this position, where she is responsible for overseeing the training of more than 20,000 military students annually. In his statement Congressman Forbes said, “This milestone marks yet another impressive achievement in an already distinguished 31-year career for BG Bingham. It is a testament to her professionalism, character, and selfless sacrifice to her country."

Called on Department of Defense to explain removal of branch emblems from military-themed Bibles.
Congressman Forbes joined 22 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta expressing concern over the recent removal of branch emblems from military-themed Bibles. In 2003, Holman Bible Publishers obtained permission from each branch of the military to use their official emblems on the Bibles. The “Soldier’s Bible,” “Sailor’s Bible,” “Marine’s Bible,” and “Airman’s Bible” displayed the official emblems, and in addition to the Biblical text, contained items such as patriotic quotes and historic prayers.

Calling for Greater Transparency at the Defense Department.  At a briefing on the Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, Department of Defense (DoD) officials were questioned about why the new China Report was only 19 pages this year compared to 70 last year. DoD officials informed Congressman Forbes and Members of the House Armed Services Committee of an internal policy directive limiting DoD reports to Congress to fifteen pages or less. Congressman Forbes and his colleagues on HASC leadership voiced their strong opposition to this arbitrarily restrictive policy. Additionally, Rep. Forbes underscored the Pentagon’s poor track record in meeting its legal obligation to deliver required reports in a timely manner. As a result of the Armed Service Committee’s strident objection, the DoD subsequently reversed this policy.

Ensuring a Strong Future for our Naval Strike Power.  On Friday, June 22nd, Congressman Forbes, along with Congressman Todd Akin wrote to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert to express concerns about how new military capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region may affect the ability of our aircraft carriers to project power. Specifically, the Congressmen are seeking to ensure that our planned Carrier Air Wings (CAW) of the 2020s are structured to meet the range, persistence, stealth, ISR, and payload demands that will be required to operate in an increasingly demanding environment.

A Leading Voice Against Sequestration.
On Thursday, June 21st, Congressman Forbes participated in a roundtable discussion on the defense budget & sequestration at the Bloomberg Defense Conference. This panel, moderated by Bloomberg’s Robert Levinson, also included Rep. Norm Dicks, (D-WA), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and former Department of Defense Comptroller under President George W. Bush, Dov S. Zakheim. At this event, Congressman Forbes further warned of the dangers of cutting the budget and force structure while Combatant Commander demands increase – endangering our national security and putting our men and women who serve at risk.

Supporting Our Military’s Quality of Life. On Tuesday, June 19th, Congressman Forbes spoke at the American Logistics Association’s Government Relations Forum on Capitol Hill. This forum focused on strong military resale and morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) programs to support our military’s quality of life. Congressman Forbes acknowledged the vital services provided by commissaries and exchanges to our men and women in uniform and their families. Congressman Forbes also made it clear that the defense cuts we have already made will change the military as we know it and warned that further cuts will cause irreparable harm to our security, our economy and most importantly, gut the pillars of the all-volunteer force.

Understanding the Consequences of a Nuclear Iran. On Wednesday, June 20th, the House Armed Services Committee met to receive testimony on “Addressing the Iranian Nuclear Challenge: Understanding the Military Options.” The witness panel at this hearing included Former Senator Charles Robb, Mr. Stephen Rademaker, and Mr. David Albright. Congressman Forbes questioned the witnesses about how cuts to defense spending could be limiting our options to deter Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon.

Kicks Off “Defending Our Defenders” National Listening Tour in Chesapeake, VA.
On Monday May 14th in Chesapeake, Virginia, Congressman Randy Forbes, along with U.S. Reps. Scott Rigell (Va-2) and Rob Wittman (Va-1) kicked off the “Defending Our Defenders” listening tour with more than 500 people in attendance. This nationwide tour is aimed at raising awareness about the impending automatic defense cuts of $500 billion, as well as the $487 billion the Obama administration has already proposed to cut – while also giving local stakeholders a opportunity to come talk about their experiences and concerns. At this event, small business owners, defense contractors and economic-development leaders all warned that the cuts would cost thousands of government and private sector jobs.

House Passed the National Defense Bill.
After passing the House Armed Services Committee in a bipartisan 56-5 vote the week before, on May 18th, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4310, which authorizes $643 billion in spending for the Department of Defense and overseas contingency operations. Congressman Forbes worked tirelessly with his colleagues throughout the mark up process and the floor debate last week towards a defense bill that restores strategy and sanity to the defense budget, rebuilds our military after a decade of war, and restores a great deal of capabilities the President had worked to cut. Specifically, the bill pushes back against proposed cuts, including retiring the Global Hawk Block 30 drones, reversing proposed cuts to the Air National Guard, rolling back proposed increases in fees to TRICARE, the military’s healthcare system, and blunting efforts to retire ships early and slow the purchase of newer vessels, among others. A fact sheet including highlights from the FY13 NDAA can be found here, and the full bill text and report can be found here. This bill passed by a vote of 299-120.

Preventing devastating cuts to National Defense.
 Congressman Forbes supported the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, H.R.5652, to replace the $98 billion in automatic cuts to discretionary spending called for under the Budget Control Act (BCA).  This bill replaces sequestration and lowers the overall budgetary cap from $1.047 trillion in the (BCA) to $1.028 trillion, which is called for under the House budget resolution (H.Con.Res.112), resulting in $19 billion in savings. Additionally, the bill includes recommendations from six Committees – Agriculture, Energy and Commerce,  Financial Services, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, and Ways and Means – that were instructed by the Budget Committee to find at least $78 billion in savings. This bill passed by a vote of 218-199.

Worked to Finalize the 2013 Defense Policy Bill.  This bill sets guidelines and priorities for Defense programs in 2013. The bill includes Congressman Forbes’ work as Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, including the rejection of another round of Base Realignment and Closures and the preservation of three cruisers marked for scrapping by the Obama Administration. The committee  passed the bill with a vote of 56-5.

Key Provisions of the NDAA include:

•           Rejection of the Administration's Base Closure Proposal.  

•           Rejected the Administration's plan to scrap three cruisers well before the end of their expected service life of 35 years.  Legislation will not only retain these national assets but also prohibit funds to make preparations to retire or deactivate any Cruisers or Dock Landing Ships (LSDs).

•           Authorizes a multi-year procurement for up to 10 Virginia-class submarines and restored advanced procurement for one submarine that the Administration had proposed to eliminate. 

•           Authorizes a multi-year procurement for up to 10 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers.

•           Prevents the administration from ending the homeland aerospace defense mission at Joint Base Langley -Eustis without first providing a cost-benefit and risk-based assessment for their decision. 

•           Protects the skilled labor force for our aircraft carrier industrial base by ensuring the nuclear refueling and defueling of a carrier will continued to be conducted by America's shipbuilding yards.

•           Strengthened conscious protections for Chaplains and Servicemembers to protect individual religious freedoms from Religious persecution. Also prevented use of federal military facilities for same sex marriage ceremonies, consistent with the Defense of Marriage Act.

•         Authorized $497.2 million TOTAL for Virginia military construction projects as requested by the services in the President's Budget, including $81 million for an Individual Training Barracks Complex at Fort Lee and $11.1 million for a Special Operations Force Combat Service Support Facility at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek- Fort Story.

•        Included provisions to encourage the development and promulgation of a set of Modeling and Simulation Grand Challenges for the research community that would support increased interagency coordination.

Chaired the Bipartisan Passage of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Markup for the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. As Chairman, Congressman Forbes led the markup of the House Armed Forces Readiness Subcommittee for the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. In a bipartisan vote, the subcommittee passed the markup which included a rejection of the Administration’s Base Realignment and Closure proposal and  restored funding for three Navy cruisers that the Administration’s had decided to decommission prematurely.

Supported the Passage of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Markup for the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. Congressman Forbes helped pass the markup of the House Armed Forces Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee for the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The markup included the authorization of a multi-year procurement for up to 10 Virginia-class submarines and 10 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers.

Honored as “Legislator of the Year” by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). Representative Forbes was unanimously selected by MOAA’s Virginia Council of Chapters as Virginia’s Legislator of the Year.  MOAA specifically cited Rep. Forbes’ relentless work on behalf of veterans, retirees and active duty military families in his role as Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, including his “exemplary support of the national security of the United States and the current and past members of the Armed Forces and their families.”

Questioning the Department of Defense on Energy Priorities and Investments.  Congressman Forbes chaired a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on March 29th where he questioned Department of Defense leaders about the analysis that guided their establishment of renewable energy goals and spending priorities. He brought to the committee’s attention the contrast between the Navy’s decisions to diminish its fleet of warships while simultaneously setting “stretch goals” that leave the check book open for renewable energy initiatives.

Ensuring a Capable Future Force. On Wednesday, March 28th, Congressman Forbes chaired a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the U.S. Army and Marine Corps materiel reset.  Congressman Forbes believes resetting our force is a strategic imperative and one that will require continued commitment beyond combat operations, particularly in light of shrinking defense budgets, the Budget Control Act’s looming sequestration, and an accelerated drawdown in Afghanistan.  This hearing explored readiness in the context of reset and its importance in ensuring a capable future force.

Remaining vigilant on North Korea’s Dangerous Posturing. On Wednesday, March 28th, the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing to discuss the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.  Congressman Forbes voiced his concern over North Korea’s unrelenting pursuit and development of ballistic missile technology and asked General Thurman for an update on the status of the North Korean ballistic missile program.  Congressman Forbes also voiced his support for U.S.-South Korean military cooperation and queried the witnesses on how views of this relationship outside the military have evolved.

Discussed Defense Sequestration with the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition. Congressman Forbes spoke along with a bi-partisan group of 12 Members of Congress at a breakfast co-hosted by the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition and The Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus.  Mr. Forbes discussed the devastating effect sequestration would have on the defense industrial base and met with key leaders from over 140 companies from across the country who were in attendance.

Met with Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Philip M. Breedlove.  On Tuesday March 27th, Congressman Forbes met with Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Philip M. Breedlove.  As one of the leading voices on the Asia-Pacific, Congressman Forbes met with General Breedlove to discuss the Air Force’s challenges and priorities in the Asia-Pacific region – particularly in light of the recent strategic shift to the Asia-Pacific as well as the development of the Air-Sea Battle Concept.

Questioning the Administration’s Proposed BRAC Round.  Congressman Forbes held a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on March 8th to evaluate the necessity of the Obama Administration’s proposal for another round of Base Realignment and Closures. The Congressman questioned the strategy behind such a move expressing his opinion that peace would come from retaining our military strength and that reducing our military now is a dangerous decision in such an uncertain global environment. Click here to watch Congressman Forbes’ remarks in the hearing.

Held the President accountable on strategic deterrence and missile defense.
 Congressman Forbes cosponsored a bill, H.R. 4125, which would prohibit the transfer of classified missile defense technology to the Russian Federation.  This legislation was introduced in response to the President’s signing statement for the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which indicated he would not enforce similar provisions to this bill contained in an amendment to the NDAA (Section 1244).  Additionally, Congressman Forbes cosponsored Rep. Turner’s (R-OH) Maintaining the President’s Commitment to our Nuclear Deterrent and National Security Act of 2012, H.R. 4178.  This legislation cites the President’s promises surrounding nuclear modernization, and codifies those commitments into law.  Specifically, the bill would directly link reductions in U.S. nuclear forces with successful execution of the President’s nuclear modernization plan.

Supported a strong submarine industrial base. Congressman Forbes, along with Reps. Langevin, Wittman and Courtney, signed a letter to the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee voicing their strong support for the Virginia Class Submarine Program and the industrial base that supports it. In this letter, the Congressman and his colleagues specifically urged support for continued multi-year procurement authority for the Virginia Class Submarine Program and for the consideration of alternative strategies that would sustain submarine construction at two a year in 2014 and through the course of the Block IV multi-year contract.

Questioned the Navy on maintenance and readiness issues. Congressman Forbes chaired a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on March 22nd.  At the hearing he questioned Navy leaders on how the retiring of seven cruisers, the inability of the Navy to meet Combatant Commanders requirements, the future submarine shortfall, and the possibility of sequestration will impact the Navy’s readiness posture.

Questioned the DoD on why the report on China’s military power is late. Congressman Forbes wrote a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta asking why the China Military Power Report was not delivered to Congress on March 1st, the date required by law. With the administration’s strategic pivot to Asia, this report is more important than ever for the National Defense Authorization process and needs to be delivered to Congress so lawmakers can fulfill their obligation of oversight of the Department of Defense.

Questioned General Allen on the Afghanistan War. On Tuesday March 20th, the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on recent developments in Afghanistan.  At this hearing, Congressman Forbes asked General Allen how our progress in Afghanistan has made America safer and how the investments we have made in Afghanistan will be sustained beyond 2014.

Supported our forward deployed National Guard and Reserve troops.  The Post Deployment Respite Absence Program (PDMRA) Program aims to provide service members deployed in excess of 12-24 months the opportunity to spend more time with their families by allowing them to accrue leave in addition to their regular leave.  However, the DoD altered this policy on September 30th 2011, effectively reducing PDMRA benefits promised. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 4045, a bill that seeks to exempt from this change in policy any member of the National Guard and Reserve whose mobilization and deployment commenced before policy took effect in October 2011.

Spoke at National Ship Repair Industry Conference. Congressman Forbes spoke at the 2012 National Ship Repair Industry Conference where he questioned the ability of the Navy to fulfill its strategic priorities and the impact on the industrial base as a result of the Obama Administration’s decisions to cut 20% of the Navy’s shipbuilding plan and decommission seven CG-47 cruisers early.

Questioned the PACOM Commander on the Importance of Our Marine Corps. At a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Congressman Forbes questioned Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command and 38-year veteran of the Navy, on the importance of having forward deployed Marines in the Asia-Pacific and how our submarine forces in the Pacific will compare to China's over the next decade.

Honored Military Divers. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.Con.Res.87 to recognize the sacrifices and efforts that have been made on behalf of our country by military divers and to encourage the creation of a memorial to honor their service.

Questioned Air Force Chief of Staff on our Air Dominance Capabilities. Congressman Forbes attended a hearing on the Air Force’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget posture where he questioned General Schwartz, the Air Force Chief of Staff, on the ability of the U.S. Air Force to conduct air dominance given recent budget cuts and reported strike fighter shortfalls.

Attended a Budget Request Hearing with U.S. European Command & U.S. Africa Command. On February 29th, the House Armed Services Committee held the Fiscal Year 2013 budget request hearing for U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) Testifying at this hearing was Admiral James Stavridis, commander of USEUCOM & NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and General Carter Ham, Commander of USAFRICOM. Congressman Forbes questioned Admiral Stavridis on the input the Combatant Commanders were able to give the Pentagon in the formation of the Defense Strategic Guidance.

Calling on Navy Leader to Fight for Ships Rather than Focusing on a Green Energy.  Congressman Forbes questioned Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in regard to the Navy’s mismatched priorities during an era of extreme budgetary constraints.  Specifically, Congressman Forbes expressed his concern that in a time of fiscal uncertainty and shifting priorities to the Asia-Pacific, the Navy appears to be prioritizing alternative energy investment rather than concentrating on building and sustaining its fleet. Video of Congressman Forbes' exchange with Secretary Mabus is available here.

Spoke at a major ‘Defending Defense’ event.  Congressman Forbes spoke at an event “Choosing Decline: The Meaning of Obama’s Defense Guidance and Budget” hosted by the Foreign Policy Initiative, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute.  In his remarks, Congressman Forbes expressed his concern that the Administration’s strategic guidance document was a budget-driven strategy, saying it was “not a strategy for a superpower. It’s a menu for mediocrity.”  Congressman Forbes urged members of the audience to make the defense cuts a national issue, not just one for Congress and Washington.  Finally, the Congressman expressed his deep concerns for the devastating effects of sequestration.  Video is available here.

Questioned the Secretary of Defense on the DoD's Fiscal Year 2013 budget request. Congressman Forbes questioned Secretary Panetta on the budget-driven approach that was taken in determining the Department of Defense's priorities for the coming decade.  Specifically, Congressman Forbes asked Secretary Panetta how the Department's Strategic Guidance could in fact be a proper strategy review when he was forced to build a strategy around the almost $500 billion in defense cuts first proposed by the President in April 2011. Video is available here.

Explored the evolving role of the U.S. Army.  Congressman Forbes questioned General Raymond Odierno, Army Chief of Staff, and Secretary John McHugh, Secretary of the Army, as to how the Army views its role in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly as it pertains to providing theater missile defense for our forward deployed warfighters. A video is available here.

Fought for improvements to veterans’ healthcare.  Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 3337, the Open Burn Pit Registry Act.  Numerous veterans have suffered serious health problems after exposure to open burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This legislation will establish a registry, similar to the Agent Orange Registry and the Gulf War Syndrome Registry.  This bill creates a system to help the Veterans’ Administration better track the complex health issues that are potentially linked with burn pits.  This is the first step toward providing better care for veterans who have been affected by open burn pits.

Applauding the Navy's Decision to Call Off Plans to Move an Aircraft Carrier from Norfolk, VA to Mayport, FL. Congressman Forbes was pleased to learn that after four years of working with the Hampton Roads delegation to fight the Navy's attempt to move a nuclear aircraft carrier to Florida, the Navy has chosen to abandon this expensive and unnecessary effort. This news comes after Congressman Forbes sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta just last week encouraging him to revisit the Navy's 2008 proposal to homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Naval Station Mayport, Florida at a cost to taxpayers of $500 million to $1 billion.  More information is available here.

Discussed the Navy's long-term plans for Hampton Roads with Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Greenert. Congressman Forbes met with Admiral Jonathan Greenert to discuss the Navy's future strategic lay-down plans for Naval Station Norfolk and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. The Hampton Roads area has proudly served as a partner with the Armed Services in providing industrial support for our men and women in uniform.  Congressman Forbes and his colleagues have worked diligently to maintain this important security and economic relationship.

Spoke at the National Modeling and Simulation Coalition’s Inaugural Congress.  Congressman Forbes, Chairman of the Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus, spoke at the National Modeling and Simulation Coalition’s (NMSC) Inaugural Congress on February 6th. NMSC is a new national organization designed to bring together all constituents and stakeholders using modeling and simulation (M&S) in manufacturing, defense, medicine, energy, transportation, education and other areas. In his speech, Congressman Forbes underscored the expanded role M&S can play across all sectors of the Federal Government in today’s fiscally constrained environment and discussed his legislative agenda for M&S this year.

Questioned Secretary Panetta on the decision to move a carrier to Mayport, Florida. Congressman Forbes sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta encouraging him to review the Navy's 2008 proposal to homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. The letter argues that, given the breadth of defense budget reductions now being applied across the Department, and specifically to the U.S. Navy, the allocation of an estimated $500 million to $1 billion to this project would not be in the strategic interests of the Department of the Navy or the fiscal interests of the nation.  A copy of the letter is available here.

Questioned senior civilian and military officials on the New Defense Strategy. Congressman Forbes attended a classified Department of Defense (DoD) briefing on the new Strategic Guidance recently issued in January with Ashton Carter, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Admiral James Winnefeld, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Service Secretary's and Chiefs. The hearing was the first of several opportunities Congressman Forbes will use to question senior DoD civilian and military officials on the risks associated with cutting $489 billion from the defense budget over the coming decade.

Discussed national security with the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. Congressman Forbes attended a discussion on the future of the U.S. Army and with Army Chief of Staff, General Raymond T. Odierno. The discussion focused on the importance of the Asia-Pacific to our national security and the role of the Army in meeting the challenges of this new security environment.

Protected religious freedom and adherence to the law in the military.  Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act, H.R. 3828, which seeks to prohibit the use of property owned, rented, or under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense for any marriage-like ceremonies involving anything other than a man and a woman.  The bill also provides conscience protections for service members and chaplains who oppose homosexual behavior for moral or religious reasons. During implementation of the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2011, Congressman Forbes led 30 Members in sending a letter to the President asking for specific conscience protections for service members.  This bill would provide those crucial protections to ensure that service members’ religious convictions are not infringed upon. 

Joined the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus. Congressman Forbes recently joined the Military Sexual Assault prevention Caucus. The Caucus serves as a bipartisan forum for all Members of Congress to learn about the problem of sexual assault in the military, and is dedicated to working with the Department of Defense to shape policy and create legislative solutions that improve service member morale and welfare.

Worked to ensure the safety of those treating the wounded on the battlefield. Congressman Forbes signed a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Defense Panetta, along with sixteen other Members, expressing concern over reports that Army medical evacuation helicopters in Afghanistan are in some cases being unnecessarily delayed. These delays are apparently due to a lack of needed attack helicopters to act as escorts. The letter seeks to obtain Department of Defense clarification on its policy decisions that may be needlessly restricting medical care or limiting the ability of commanders to evacuate the wounded.  A copy of the letter is available here.

Welcoming Home Soldiers Returning from Iraq. Congressman Forbes celebrated the return home to Ft. Lee of the last support battalion to leave Iraq on January 8, 2012.  The 275th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion served a 10-month mission and was responsible for helping to bring American troops home.  Specifically, they directed logistics for the remaining military personnel and supplies until the complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq on December 31, 2011. Photos of the event are available here.

Questioned the Administration on its lack of a clear National Security Strategy. Congressman Forbes sent letters to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon questioning the Administration on its failure to submit a classified National Security Strategy to Congress in 2009 and 2011 as required by law.  Specifically, Congressman Forbes called on the Administration to comply with the law and submit the required strategy reports to Congress so that Members may better understand the degree of national security risk being undertaken by the United States in light of a budget-driven defense strategy.

Fought the Administration's defense budget strategy.  Congressman Forbes released a statement following Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's press conference announcing the Department of Defense's plan to slash nearly $500 billion from planned defense spending. In it, Congressman Forbes stated the defense strategy "embraced weakness by a thousand cuts" and went on to say the plan would not benefit Virginians, our allies, or our men and women in uniform.

Joined the Congressional Army Aviation Caucus. Congressman Forbes joined the Congressional Army Aviation Caucus. This newly established Caucus has 25 Members and seeks to raise awareness of Army aviation issues within Congress and the public and private sectors. It also provides a forum for Members, staff, the Army, and industry to discuss Army aviation and promote adequate budgets and funding of Army aviation assets to meet war-fighter requirements. 

Promoted Virginia jobs by encouraging use of the Port of Virginia for screening returning equipment from Afghanistan. Congressman Forbes co-signed a letter to General James Mattis, Commander, U.S. Central Command, and Major General Kevin Leonard, Commanding Officer, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, encouraging the use of the Port of Virginia as a screening area for cargo returning from Afghanistan. This process, mandated by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection, is currently being performed in Karachi, Pakistan. The Port of Virginia and local industry partners offer a viable alternative to doing this work in Pakistan, and could help to lower costs, allow for an efficient drawdown, and provide job opportunities.  A copy of the letter is available here.

Cosponsored a resolution to honor Iraq War veterans. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, H. Res. 528, that publicly honors the service and sacrifice of the 1.5 million service members and their families who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Met with defense experts to discuss national security concerns. Congressman Forbes met with a number of defense and security experts to listen to their input and recommendations on national security policy. Specifically, Congressman Forbes met with Tom Donnelly, Gary Schmitt, and Mackenzie Eaglen from the American Enterprise Institute to talk about the Administration's new defense budget. He also met with Andrew Erickson from the Naval War College to discuss the modernization of China's People's Liberation Army Navy. Finally, he met with Randy Schriver from the Project 2049 Institute to discuss the aftermath of the elections in Taiwan and the future of cross-strait relations.

Fighting to Provide Necessary Funding for U.S. Armed Services. Throughout the past year, Congressman Forbes used his position as Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee to ensure that the U.S. Armed Services have adequate funding to succeed in the missions they are tasked with by their commanders.  Additionally, he has fought to both ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently and ensure that Department of Defense budget decisions are motivated by security needs rather than budgetary pressures.  While many key provisions supported by Congressman Forbes were included in the final version of the national defense policy bill, Congressman Forbes ultimately could not support the legislation that left a $217 million shortfall in repairing and maintaining our Navy's ships, slashed $19 billion from the Department of Defense’s base budget, included policy provisions detrimental to our ship building and ship repair industries, and paved the road for the movement of a carrier from Norfolk to Mayport for purely political reasons.  More information on the Forbes provisions included in the bill, H.R. 1540, can be found below.
This bill passed the House by a vote of 283-136.

Strengthened our national defense.  As Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes worked with his colleagues to include a number of policy provisions of broad importance to the defense of the United States in the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.  These provisions are designed to improve: long-term strategic planning and financial management.
Long-Term Strategic Planning
- Forbes’ Amendment declaring the QDR a critical strategic document that should not be influenced by budgetary pressures.
In recent years, the QDR review has become overly constrained and informed by budget limitations. The Forbes amendment addresses this problem by making clear that the QDR is a strategic document, not a budgetary document, and should be based upon a process unconstrained by budgetary influences so that such influences do not determine or limit its outcome. (Sec. 942
- Requiring DOD analysis of the U.S. industrial base and dependence issues in the event of a global conflict. DoD relies on thousands of suppliers to ensure that it has the weapons, supporting equipment, and raw materials it needs to support current and future conflicts against conventional opponents. However, increasing globalization in the defense industry presents uncertainty in the U.S. forces’ ability to maintain a reliable and sufficient supplier base in the event of conflicts. As a result, the conference report language requires a specific assessment by DoD of the vulnerabilities posed to defense systems. (Sec. 852)
Financial Management: Audit Readiness and Cost-Savings
- Improving DoD’s financial management to expedite audit readiness.
  The conference report language requires the Department to establish a specific plan, with interim objectives and milestones, for meeting the September 30, 2014 deadline for audit-ready statements of budgetary resources, to develop metrics and mitigating strategies for missed milestones and program delays, and to report to Congress on the steps taken and to be taken.  (Sec. 1003
Encouraging DoD to lower energy costs by focusing on alternatives with demonstrated returns on investment. Congress continues to monitor DOD’s energy use and encourages the Department to be more energy efficient, enhance energy security, make strategic investments, and demonstrate the payback associated with its investments and appropriate stewardship of taxpayer dollars. This year’s conference report language includes several energy-related provisions for operation and maintenance, operational energy, and military installation energy. (Sec. 2830)

Called for a closer look at China’s military modernization. Congressman Forbes supported the addition of a number of provisions that will help transform Congress’ approach to the growing military threat of China in the Western Pacific.  Key provisions include:
- Strengthening the annual military power report on China. An amendment introduced by Forbes and incorporated into the final conference report expands the requirement of the annual military power report on China to include an assessment on the nature of China’s cyber activities directed against the Department of Defense (DoD) and related damage as well as China’s efforts, including technological transfer and espionage, to access DoD information. (Sec. 1238)
- Requiring the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to identify Pacific Command’s most critical needs. The conference report requires the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to submit to Congress, as part of the Chairman’s assessment of risks under the National Military Strategy, an assessment of the critical deficiencies and strengths in force capabilities (including manpower, logistics, intelligence, and mobility support) identified during the preparation and review of contingency plans of each geographic combatant commander and assess the impact on security objectives and strategic plans. The intent of the provision is to encourage a holistic approach in evaluating our global force structure and resources in light of China’s rapid military modernization and to ensure Congress is aware of the most critical needs of our combatant commanders in executing their mission. (Sec. 941
- Evaluating the United States’ industrial base to identify potential gaps that might affect military readiness. DoD relies on thousands of suppliers to ensure that it has the weapons, supporting equipment, and raw materials it needs to support current and future conflicts against conventional opponents. However, increasing globalization in the defense industry presents uncertainty in the U.S. forces’ ability to maintain a reliable and sufficient supplier base in the event of conflicts. The Committee notes that studies by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have found that DoD lacks a framework and consistent approach for managing supplier base concerns such as counterfeit parts in the supply chain, and reliance on rare earth materials from the People’s Republic of China in military equipment and systems. As a result, the conference report requires a specific assessment by DoD of the vulnerabilities posed to defense systems by disruptions in critical items to the defense supply chain. (Sec. 852
- Enhancing readiness force posture in the Western Pacific to balance China’s increasing military power. The conference report enhances the readiness posture of the Armed Forces in the Asia-Pacific in response to the region's shifting security environment, including China's military modernization, through a new independent assessment to review force posture, options for realignment, and views of noted leaders in the field. (Sec. 346
- Reviewing and reporting on Iran’s and China’s conventional and anti-access capabilities. The conference report language requires an independent review by the Comptroller General assessing the gaps between conventional and anti-access capabilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China, in addition to an assessment of the United States Armed Forces’ ability to overcome such capabilities. (Sec. 1232)

Supported Virginia and the 4th Congressional District in Defense Policy Bill.  Due to Congressman Forbes' efforts, the final national defense policy bill contains a number of provisions important to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Fourth Congressional District, and Virginia’s many defense installations and service members.
- Fully funding shipbuilding construction plans. The conference report language provides $14.9 billion and supports 10 new construction ships. (Sec. 4101) Specifically, the conference report language provides:  $4.68 billion for procurement of nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarines for immediate construction and long-term planning; $555 million for nuclear aircraft carrier construction; and $530 million to support nuclear aircraft carrier refueling .
- Authorizing nearly $75 million for modernization and improvements to Norfolk Naval Shipyard. At the Navy’s request, the conference report authorizes $74.864 million for the construction of a controlled industrial facility to improve and modernize Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the Navy’s oldest and largest industrial facility. (Sec. 4601)
- Authorizing $108.3 million for improvements at Norfolk Naval Station.  At the Navy’s request, the conference report authorizes $81.3 million to construct a new-enlisted bachelor quarters housing 620 junior sailors as part of the Navy’s Homeport Ashore initiative and $27 million for a decentralized steam plant. (Sec. 4601)
- Investing $11 million in Fort Pickett for Combined Arms Collective Training Facilities (CACTF). At the Army’s request, $11 million is authorized for military construction allowing Fort Pickett to construct Combined Arms Collective Training Facilities (CACTF). CACTF are designed to provide individuals battalion-level, home station, and urban operations training. These new training facilities will allow units to train soldiers on building entry and room clearing techniques under live and blank-fire conditions and limited subterranean training in an urban training facility large enough to conduct combined arms force-on-force collective training at the battalion/task force level. (Sec. 4601)
- Investing $113 million in needed military construction at NAB Little Creek and JB Langley-Eustis. An additional $37 million in funding was authorized for the SOF Seal Team Operational Facility at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek while Joint Base Langley-Eustis received $50 million in funding for barracks and $26 million for an Aviation Training Facility. (Sec. 4601)
- Increasing funding for Navy ship maintenance. The conference report increases the President’s requested $6.18 billion for Navy ship maintenance by $150 million for Navy ship depot maintenance only. This is $217 million less than the Navy requires to fully fund ship maintenance. Ensuring the maintenance of preexisting equipment is particularly vital at a time of increased pressure on DoD to reduce spending, which is part of Congressman Forbes' rationale in withholding his signature from the conference report. (Sec. 4301)
- Directing the Secretary of Defense to perform cost/benefit analysis of Africa Command basing alternatives. Report language directs the Secretary of Defense to conduct this basing review in an open and transparent manner.  It encourages the Secretary to locate Africa Command in an area like Virginia that is capable of providing the maximum military value to the realigned command and at the minimum cost required to implement the relocation. (H.R. 1540 Report Language)
- Requires DoD to employ a competitive strategy for procuring engines on the Next Generation Bomber. The conference report language directs the Air Force to develop a competitive acquisition strategy for engines on the Next Generation Bomber, offering an opportunity for Virginia companies to compete and save American taxpayer money by driving down costs. (Sec. 220)

Selected as House conferee for annual national defense policy bill. Congressman Forbes was selected to take part in the conference reporting process for the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.  As Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes was selected along with colleagues from the House and Senate to reconcile the chambers’ respective versions of the annual defense policy bill before it can be passed into law.

Defended the need for a forward U.S. military presence.
 Congressman Forbes wrote an op-ed published in The Diplomat entitled “Puncturing the U.S. Base Myths.” In the piece, Congressman Forbes argued that shutting U.S. military bases located abroad is an unacceptable and short-sighted way to accomplish reductions to the defense budget. From the piece: “The flexibility afforded to U.S. forces to operate from a network of overseas facilities allows them to quickly respond to any regional crisis as it is emerging. Constraining U.S. forces to a continental posture would undermine this very advantage, placing an insurmountable logistical and geographic burden on them.”  The full piece is available here.

Led congressional Modeling, Simulation and Training Caucus panel.  Congressman Forbes led a congressional panel before an audience that included members of industry and the Armed Services during the 2011 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC).  I/ITSEC is hosted by the National Training and Simulation Association every year; while touring the various exhibits of the conference, Congressman Forbes also met with military officials and representatives from various modeling and simulation companies.

Spoke at the annual Defense Logistics Conference.  Congressman Forbes addressed the Defense Logistics Conference in Crystal City, VA, and urged the audience members to be proactive in maintaining their supportive role of America’s Armed Forces. He discussed the far-reaching effects of recent defense cuts on America's long-term defense posture and reviewed the risks the country faces on the horizon.

Addressed the 2nd Annual Virginia Chamber of Commerce Economic Summit. Congressman Forbes delivered a speech entitled “The Future of U.S. Defense Spending” at the 2nd Annual Virginia Economic Summit, a gathering of over 500 business and government leaders.  The summit’s focus this year was on the role the federal government plays in Virginia’s economic prosperity.  Congressman Forbes has also released a video discussing the economic impact of drastic defense cuts, which can be viewed here.

Provided expedited security screening for members of the Armed Forces at airports.  Congressman Forbes supported the Risk-Based Security Screening for Members of the Armed Forces Act, H.R. 1801.  This bill requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to develop and implement a plan to provide expedited security screening services for members of the U.S. armed forces, and any accompanying family members, when the servicemember is traveling on official orders while in uniform. At present, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) uses the same screening procedures for all passengers at airport checkpoints, including members of the U.S. armed forces. Although TSA has plans to move to a more risk-based method of screening passengers at airport checkpoints in the future, servicemembers continue to be screened in the same way as everyone else.

Examined the Joint AirSea Battle concept.  Congressman Forbes attended a classified briefing by Pentagon officials on the recently established AirSea Battle concept, designed to use air and naval capabilities in areas where China, Iran, or other actors seeking to limit U.S. regional access. The briefing focused on the implementation of the AirSea Battle concept and discussed Congress' role in supporting the military in this process. Congressman Forbes' also recently sent a letter to Secretary Panetta expressing his support for the development of the AirSea Battle strategy; the letter is available here.

Questioned military leaders on the consequences of further defense reductions.  Congressman Forbes participated in a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee to receive testimony of the Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps Chiefs on the impact of defense cuts. The hearing specifically explored the potentially devastating consequences of hundreds of billions in additional cuts under the Budget Control Act if the “Super Committee” fails to reach an agreement or decides to cut more from defense. The full hearing can be viewed here.

Applauded Speaker John Boehner for his commitment to protecting national security. Congressman Forbes sent a letter to Speaker Boehner thanking him for his recent remarks that the Department of Defense's baseline budget has already paid enough to deficit reductions. The letter was also signed by Rep. Buck McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and the HASC subcommittee chairman.

Worked to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act on military bases.  Congressman Forbes joined 85 members of the House of Representatives in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell encouraging them to include language in the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act that prohibits military facilities from being used for same sex marriage ceremonies.  The House of Representatives passed a version of the bill, H.R. 1540, that reaffirms the Defense of Marriage Act’s (DOMA) applicability to military facilities but a recent Pentagon legal opinion circumvents DOMA by allowing the ceremonies to be performed on a “sexual orientation neutral” basis.

Discussed the consequences of "A Day Without Seapower and Projection Forces". Congressman Forbes co-chaired a joint hearing of the House Armed Services Committee Seapower and Projection Forces and Readiness Subcommittees to assess the role of seapower in America's national security strategy. Vice Admiral Bruce W. Clingan described the unique role seapower forces play: "Where tensions are high or where we wish to demonstrate to our allies and friends our commitment to security and stability, U.S. naval forces regionally concentrate forward-deployed task forces with the combat power to limit regional conflict, deter major power war, and should deterrence fail, win our Nation’s wars."

Called on Secretary Panetta to make Congress a partner in the development of AirSea Battle. Congressman Forbes sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta expressing the importance of developing an AirSea Battle operational concept and asking him to articulate the role he envisions for Congress in its development. Specifically, it asked Secretary Panetta to explain the fiscal program required to support the concept and for a brief to better understand the findings that have led to its development.

Questioned top military leaders on 'Readiness in the Age of Austerity.' Congressman Forbes chaired a hearing on the House Armed Services Committee Readiness subcommittee to assess the implications of additional defense budget cuts to the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps. The hearing specifically explored the potentially devastating consequences of hundreds of billions in additional cuts under the Budget Control Act if the “Super Committee” fails to reach an agreement or decides to cut more from defense. The full hearing can be viewed here.  Some key quotes from the witnesses include:

General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., Assistant Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps
"[I]f you took that [forward deployed] force and moved it back to the Continental United States, in the event of a crisis or contingency, it would take months to move that force to the Western Pacific and seven consecutive miracles in terms of synchronizing the planes, trains and automobiles associated with moving that force."

General Peter W. Chiarelli, Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army
"If I had to look around town and read what all the think tanks are saying, they seem to be discounting the requirement for ground forces which is a natural tendency after what we've been through in the last 10 years, but every other time we've done that in our history, as I indicated before, we have done so on the backs of servicemen and women, soldiers on the ground… let's be honest. It has cost us lives. It cost us lives at Kasserine Pass. It cost us lives at Task Force Smith in Korea. It cost us lives every single time […] we will end up with a force that is not modernized is an unbalanced force, and in the end, it will cost us lives."

Admiral Mark E. Ferguson III, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy
"We deploy and, in fact, over half our forces are under way, ships and submarines, on a given day and about 40 percent are forward deployed.  The demand for those forces is going up. So we don't have the luxury of taking them offline for prolonged periods of time. And so the maintenance funding that we have when we bring them home for their turnaround is absolutely essential to sustain that force, to reset it and then prepare to go -- both the amphibious lift for the Marines as well as aircraft carriers, submarines and surface ships."

General Philip M. Breedlove, Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force
"[T]he future budget scenario which would severely constrict our ability to approach those requirements, those weapons, those new aircraft or other weapons that would give us a capability in this anti access sort of environment. I think that's where the pressure will be. And quite frankly in some portions of the world if we are not able to break that anti-access environment, I believe that we will be in the position where we will not be able to guarantee that air dominance, or air supremacy to our sea and land forces as we operate over them."

Toured the Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News shipbuilding yard. Congressman Forbes joined House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.), Rob Wittman (R-Va.) and Scott Rigell (R-Va.) in a visit to Newport News Shipbuilding. The delegation viewed the progress of the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) and investments being made to accommodate constructing two Virginia-class submarines each year.

Attended Commissioning of USS California.  Congressman Forbes attended the commissioning ceremony for Navy’s newest nuclear attack submarine at Naval Station Norfolk.  USS California is the 8th boat in the Virginia class of submarines to join the Navy fleet and was completed under budget and more than 8 months ahead of schedule.  Photos of the commissioning are available here.

Introducing the Strong Defense, Strong America Resolution.
  Congressman Forbes and 34 other Members of Congress introduced H. Res 441, a resolution stating that a strong military is vital to a strong economy. Today, Congress and the Administration are making decisions to cut our defense budget that will have long-term effects on the future of America's national security, as well as exacerbating already staggering unemployment.  Moreover, the Strong Defense, Strong America resolution states that further cuts to national defense will only weaken our nation and constrain our ability to protect our most vital interests.  Congressman Forbes does not support solving the fiscal crisis on the backs of the men and women defending our nation; he released a video explaining the impact of defense cuts to jobs and those that serve, which is available here.

Questioned Secretary Panetta on defense budget cuts. Congressman Forbes participated in a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee to receive the testimony of Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey on the impact of defense budget cuts. Secretary Panetta insisted that further cuts to the defense budget would be "catastrophic" when the military is already battling terrorists worldwide, waging two overseas wars, monitoring Iran and China, and struggling with emerging cyberthreats. Watch Congressman Forbes question Secretary Panetta here.

Participated in a House Armed Service press conference. Congressman Forbes spoke at a House Armed Services Committee press conference on the impact further defense cuts would have on our national security, industrial base, and military servicemembers and their families. Video from the press conference is available here.

Listened to former Armed Services Chairmen offer perspectives on defense budget cuts.  Congressman Forbes attended a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee in which former chairmen provided their views on further cuts to national security spending.  The Committee heard from former Senator John Warner (R-VA), former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee as well as former Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and former Congressman Ike Skelton (D-MO), both previous Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.  All three expressed concerns about budgeting for defense without first taking a close look at strategy and the threats faced by the United States.

Called on Secretary Panetta to Review GE-AVIC partnership. Congressman Forbes sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta asking him to conduct a National Security Review of the joint venture between General Electric and the Chinese company AVIC. This venture aims to develop, in the People's Republic of China (PRC), an Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) hardware and software system for jets to be manufactured in that country, which will compete with U.S. firms such as Boeing. The letter also asks what other U.S. defense contractors have entered into joint ventures with entities in the PRC.

Voiced concern that defense cuts will impact military jointness. Congressman Forbes sent a letter to Congressman Bill Young, Chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, expressing his concern with the reductions recommended by Chairman Young’s subcommittee to Joint Systems Integration Command (JSIC) and reductions recommended by the Senate Appropriations Committee to Joint Experimentation.  JSIC is a program that conducts vital assessments of existing and developing military command and control equipment to ensure the systems are operable across the services. Joint Experimentation is a program that tests the operational concepts and plans for joint military forces.

Weighed in on future of U.S. Forces in Iraq.  Congressman Forbes joined 30 members of the House of Representatives in sending a letter to President Obama urging him to ensure that any agreement between the United States and the Iraqi government to commit troops after the end of the year include immunity from Iraqi prosecution for our brave men and women in  uniform.  Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have selflessly sacrificed the last eight years to put Iraq on a path toward peace, stability, and democracy.  To ask their continued sacrifice while failing to grant them legal immunity from frivolous and politically-charged prosecutions would simply be unacceptable.

Urged the Administration’s swift engagement on behalf of Christian Pastor facing death sentence for his beliefs.  Congressman Forbes joined 89 of his colleagues in urging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s swift engagement in support of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s immediate release in Iran.  Pastor Nadarkhani faces execution for refusing to denounce his Christian faith.  Congressman Forbes and his colleagues in Congress continue to call for the immediate release of Pastor Nadarkhani and hope that his case reminds all Americans that we must never take our own religious freedom for granted. The letter is available here.

Condemned China’s imprisonment, torture and execution of prisoners of conscience.  Congressman Forbes cosponsored H. Res. 416, a resolution condemning the People’s Republic of China for its treatment of prisoners of conscience who have been tortured, imprisoned, and executed because of their political, religious, and conscientiously held beliefs.  The resolution also urges the Administration to raise the issue of prisoners of conscience in its diplomatic meetings with China and expresses a sense of Congress in sympathy for the families of individuals who have been murdered, imprisoned, or tortured by the Chinese government.  *The House Clerk has not yet added Congressman Forbes as a cosponsor online.

Launching the Strong Defense, Strong America initiative.  Congressman Forbes launched the Strong Defense, Strong America campaign to help make the case to explain why the United States cannot afford further defense cuts. The central piece of this campaign is a resolution that argues that further reductions to core national security funding will cause significant harm to U.S. interests. The resolution now has sixteen original cosponsors, including Rep. Akin, Rep. Thornberry, Rep. Wilson, Rep. Turner, and Rep. Wittman. A website has been set up to organize fact sheets, videos, and news coverage that have been prepared as part of the campaign. The website is available here: http://forbes.house.gov/StrongAmerica/

Investigated the Readiness of U.S. Pacific Command. Congressman Forbes chaired a classified hearing on the House Armed Services Committee Readiness Subcommittee to assess the readiness challenges facing the U.S. Pacific Command with the Command's Deputy Commander Lt. General Daniel Darnell.

Discussed alliances with Australian Ambassador. Congressman Forbes met with Australian Ambassador Kim Beazley and Major General Timothy McOwan to discuss US-Australian defense cooperation, Australia's concerns about US defense budget cuts, and the shifting security environment in the Asia-Pacific.

Worked to stave off drastic defense cuts. Congressman Forbes spoke at the Coalition for the Common Defense event on Capitol Hill that was hosted by The Center for Security Policy. He discussed his concerns about the defense budget and why the nation and the military cannot afford further cuts.

Investigated Army Reserve and National Guard readiness. Congressman Forbes chaired a hearing on the House Armed Services Committee Readiness Subcommittee to assess the readiness challenges facing the Army Reserve, Army National Guard, and Air National Guard. You can watch the full hearing here.

Questioned the Navy on Mayport decision. Congressman Forbes wrote a letter to the new Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, expressing that at a time when the nation’s historic fiscal challenges require drastic cuts in federal spending, it is not fiscally responsible or strategically necessary to build expensive and redundant nuclear-support infrastructure for CVN homeporting when there are more cost-effective alternatives to sustain Mayport’s future as an operational base.  The letter was cosigned by Senator Jim Webb, Senator Mark Warner, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), Congressman Scott Rigell (VA-02), and Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03). A copy of the signed letter sent to Admiral Greenert is available here.

Assessed the impact of defense cuts on job creators.  Congressman Forbes held multiple meetings with key leaders in the defense industry to hear their concerns about the impact of large defense cuts on the economy, their businesses, and the jobs of thousands of highly skilled employees.  These job creators expressed concerns that, due to budgetary pressures, the Navy is considering retiring a number of cruisers and amphibious warships early as well as delaying or canceling the refueling of an aircraft carrier.  These types of decisions are dangerous for national security and result in a weaker industrial base that is less available to be called on when needed.

Visited shipyards in New Hampshire and Connecticut.  Congressman Forbes led a delegation of members of the House Armed Services Committee to visit Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, NH and General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, CT.  During the visit, Congressman Forbes and other members of the delegation toured the facilities and held discussions with employees and leadership to hear their concerns regarding looming cuts to national defense.  Our nation’s shipyards are a vital strategic asset with a highly skilled workforce.  Sizeable defense cuts place this vital industry at risk.

Working toward a national military strategy to counter Iran.  Congressman Forbes attended a briefing of the House Armed Services Committee on the nation’s military strategy to counter Iran.  The Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, H.R. 6523, required the Secretary of Defense to develop this strategy and provide a briefing to Congress on the necessary resources and legal authority to accomplish the strategy.

Discussed the future of the U.S. military with former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs.  Congressman Forbes participated in a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee to discuss the future of national defense and the U.S. military.  Witnesses included General Richard Myers, U.S. Air Force (ret.) and General Peter Pace, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.), both former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The third witness was Admiral Edmund Giambastiani, Jr., U.S. Navy (ret.), a former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  All three of these distinguished military veterans emphasized that the world is an increasingly dangerous place and that U.S. leadership is vital in preventing conflict and maintaining stability.  They also stressed that a consistent and cohesive national defense strategy is necessary to provide the military with a clear mission.  In his questions, Congressman Forbes emphasized that while the United States military has not been given a clear national security strategy to follow and faces ever-increasing budget cuts, China has recognized that a strong economy is closely linked to a strong military and therefore, has diligently grown and modernized its military forces.  He also questioned whether the future of national defense would be decided by bureaucrats with budget spreadsheets or the Generals and Admirals who have served our nation for the last few decades.  A video of Congressman Forbes' questions is available here.

Questioned the Administration on the delayed release of the China Power Report. Congressman Forbes sent letters to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and National Security Advisor Thomas Donillon, requesting for a second time this year that the Department of Defense release the Annual Report to Congress on the Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China. The letter highlights the fact that the annual report provides vital information to Congress on China's intentions and capabilities as Members of Congress begin the national defense authorization process each spring. It also raises the point that the failure to provide the report by the legal deadline paints the picture that the delay is a direct result of the Administration's diplomatic calendar with Beijing rather than any interagency or analytical challenges. The Department of Defense released the report two days later; 177 days after the March 1st legal deadline set by Congress. 

Supported a strong national defense. Congressman Forbes spoke at a “Defending Defense” conference on Capitol Hill on the defense budget and current and future challenges confronting the United States military. The event was co-hosted by the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), the American Enterprise Institute (AIE), and the Heritage Foundation. He was joined by Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Allen West and Senators Lindsey Graham, Jon Kyl, and Kelly Ayotte.  A video of Congressman Forbes’ remarks is available here.

Questioned Vice Chiefs on the readiness of our Armed Forces.  Congressman Forbes chaired a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee Readiness Subcommittee to assess the multiple readiness challenges facing the United States Navy, Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force as the services brace for future rounds of cuts to the defense budget. You can watch the full hearing here.

Key testimonies from the witnesses include:

·  General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, U.S. Marine Corps:  On cuts ranging from $400billion - $1trillion, “We would start to have to make some fundamental changes in the capability of the Marine Corps.”

·  General Philip M. Breedlove, Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force: On cuts ranging from $400billion - $1trillion, “We would have to go into a fundamental restructure of what it is our nation expects from our Air Force.”

·  General Peter W. Chiarelli, Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army: On cuts ranging from $400billion - $1trillion, “You're reaching an area there that I think would definitely we'd have to look very, very hard at our strategy, what we can and cannot do.”

·  Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy: On cuts ranging from $400billion - $1trillion, “If we have a reduction of the kind that was passed around here - $400 billion or $886 billion - without a comprehensive strategic review, a fundamental look at what were asking our forces to do, we won't be able to meet the Global Force Management Plan today.  It will exacerbate our readiness trends. And if we have to go to a reduction of force structure, I am concerned about the industrial base.”

Discussed financial management with defense officials.  Congressman Forbes met with Dr. Mary Sally Matiella, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management, to discuss the Army’s progress toward achieving a clean financial audit as required by law.  While pleased to hear that the Army is making progress toward this goal, Congressman Forbes encouraged Dr. Matiella to continue to provide updates to Congress so that further progress receives close oversight.  Congressman Forbes believes strongly that achieving audit readiness will help ensure that our defense dollars are spent as efficiently as possible.

Expanded employment opportunities for military spouses.  Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Military Spouses Employment Act, H.R.687.  This bill would make spouses of active duty service members part of the targeted group eligible for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.  This gives employers a tax incentive for hiring military spouses.

Opposed sweeping defense cuts as part of debt ceiling deal.  Congressman Forbes joined 46 other Members of Congress in sending a letter to President Obama expressing grave concerns over recent reports that significant defense cuts will be included as part of a debt ceiling deal.  While in favor of scrutinizing wasteful spending in the Pentagon, the letter’s signers also state that “any cuts to [defense spending] cannot occur without an open and objective review of America’s role in the world and the risks we face to our national security.”

Supported military commissaries. Congressman Forbes joined a bipartisan group of 69 members of the House of Representatives in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that details the value of commissaries to our nation’s military families.  The letter highlights the fact that the commissary system delivers over 30 percent savings to families and is one of the most cost effective operations in government.  The letter asks that Secretary Panetta keep these cost savings in mind as the Pentagon is pressured to cut costs.

Questioned the Air Force on aircraft purchased from Chinese government-owned company.  Congressman Forbes, co-chair and founder of the Congressional China Caucus, along with 16 other members of the House of Representatives, sent a letter to Secretary of the Air Force, Michael Donley, expressing their concern over the recent decision to purchase T-53A trainer aircraft from a company owned by the Chinese government.  The aircraft were purchased from Minnesota-based Cirrus Aircraft, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chinese government-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).  While not explicitly in violation of existing law prohibiting the Department of Defense from purchasing from Communist Chinese Military Companies, Congressman Forbes and the other signers asked that Secretary Donley explain how this decision is in the best interest of the Air Force and the United States of America.

Objected to transferring terrorists to the U.S. for civilian trial.  Congressman Forbes joined 22 members of the House of Representatives in sending a letter to the President objecting to his recent decision to transfer alleged terrorist and enemy combatant Ahmed Warsame to the United States for trial.  After being captured by the U.S. military, Ahmed Warsame was held and interrogated on a U.S. Navy vessel for more than two months.  After his interrogation ended, Warsame should have been transported and detained at Guantanamo Bay.  Instead, he received a Miranda warning and was flown to the United States to face indictment in civilian court.

Questioned Navy Officials: Is Our Navy Ready? Congressman Forbes chaired a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee Readiness Subcommittee to assess the readiness posture of the United States Navy and explore how to best address shortfalls in maintenance and equipment operability.  You can watch the full hearing here.

Key statistics discussed in the hearing include:

·  In the last four years inspection failures for Navy ships have nearly tripled. Currently, 1 in 5 ships inspected is either unsatisfactory or unfit for combat. Since 2007 inspection failure rates have risen from roughly 8% to 24%. Yet, this year alone, the Navy faces a $367 million funding shortfall for ship maintenance.  A related chart is available here.

·  On average, Navy deployed ships are forced to spend nearly 40% of their time with at least one major equipment or systems failure. Essential equipment or systems on Navy ships could include anti-air defenses, radar, satellite communications, or engines.  Almost 40% of the time, deployed ships have at least one essential piece of equipment that has failed and prevents them from meeting a primary mission.  A related chart is available here.

·  Over one-half of our currently deployed aircraft are not combat ready. Fifty-five percent of deployed Navy and Marine Corps aircraft are not fully mission capable. For every two aircraft sent on deployment, one of them cannot perform a critical mission for which it was deployed. Despite this, the Navy faces a nearly $100 million funding shortfall for aviation maintenance and logistics this year alone.  A related chart is available here.

Opposed Greater Risk and Significant Cuts to National Security.  Congressman Forbes opposed H.R. 2219, the FY 2012 House Appropriations Bill, after it cut $8.9 billion from the President's proposed budget for FY2012. Congressman Forbes opposed this bill because he refuses to accept the position that budgetary pressures should drive us to reduce our national security capabilities.  In fulfilling its constitutional charge to 'provide for a common defense,' Congress must first understand the nation's security risks prior to making any cuts in defense spending.  At a time when our Armed Forces are stretched thin and the Administration is calling for hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to future defense spending, it is dangerous for Congress to begin hollowing out the United States military without fully realizing the national security risks this may entail.

Encouraged new Secretary of Defense to audit DoD.  Congressman Forbes joined a bipartisan group of six members of the House in sending a letter to newly appointed Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.  The letter asks that Secretary Panetta adhere to the timeline for auditing the Department of Defense as required by law and that he make it a priority to meet this goal.

Supported making Fort Monroe a unit of the National Park Service.  Congressman Forbes co-sponsored the Fort Monroe National Park Establishment Act, H.R.2456, that would authorize the creation of Fort Monroe as a unit of the National Park Service.  Fort Monroe is scheduled for closing by the Army in September of 2011 but maintaining portions of the Fort as a national park will ensure the historic significance is not lost for future generations.

Questioned Defense Officials on Administration Plans for Afghanistan Drawdown.
  Congressman Forbes questioned Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Administration’s plan to withdraw surge troops from Afghanistan.  Congressman Forbes' questions focused on what had changed in Afghanistan that allowed Chairman Mullen to support such a significant drawdown.  Congressman Forbes' statement in regard to the troop drawdown is available here.

Weighed in on U.S. Military involvement in Libya.  Congressman Forbes opposed a resolution, H.J.Res.68, that would have authorized the use of the United States Armed Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya.  On the same day, Congressman Forbes supported legislation, H.R.2278, which instead would have prohibited the use of funds for military operations with the exception of limited support activities to our NATO allies, including search and rescue; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; aerial refueling; and operational planning.  Congressman Forbes believes this measure would have struck the proper balance between prohibiting the Administration from spending additional funds for the unauthorized operations in Libya while continuing to provide vital assistance to our NATO allies in a limited, non-combat capacity.  Just days after the onset of military operations in Libya, Congressman Forbes had the opportunity to question Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as to where the President found the legal authority to launch a military operation in Libya.  Watch the questioning hereH.J. Res. 68 failed by a vote of 123-295 and H.R. 2278 failed by a vote of 180-238.

Urged VA Senators to eliminate funding in Senate defense bill for carrier move to Mayport, FL.  Congressman Forbes and other members of the Virginia delegation of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Senator Jim Webb (VA) and Senator Mark Warner (VA) expressing their surprise to see no attempt to eliminate funding for the Navy’s military constructions plans for Naval Station Mayport within the Senate Armed Services Committee's version of the national defense policy bill.  The bipartisan letter, cosigned by Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03), Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), and Congressman Scott Rigell (VA-02), urges Senator Webb and Senator Warner to mirror the cooperative efforts of the Virginia Delegation in the House of Representatives to strike the military construction authorization that supports a nuclear aircraft carrier homeport move from Norfolk, Virginia to Mayport, Florida.  A copy of the letter is available here.

Provided Bankruptcy Relief to Military Personnel.  Congressman Forbes became the original Republican cosponsor for the National Guard and Reservist Debt Relief Extension Act of 2011, H.R.2192.  This bill would extend for four years an existing provision that allows National Guard members, military reservists, and disabled veterans who were on active duty or performing a homeland defense activity for at least 90 days on or after 9/11 to continue qualifying for favorable Chapter 7 bankruptcy status. These service members make many sacrifices, such as putting their civilian careers on hold in service of our nation, incurring the extra cost of running a second household where their duty station is located or working for a lower income while they are activated rather than receiving their usual civilian salary.

Supported congressional oversight of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal process.  Congressman Forbes joined 30 other members of the House of Representatives in sending a letter to the President asking that he allow Congress time to conduct oversight of the progress that the military services have made in training service members and setting appropriate policies ahead of lifting the ban on openly homosexual service members serving in the Armed Forces.  The letter asks that the President delay transmitting the certification from the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs until Congress has had adequate time to review the new policy and training guidance.  Under current law, the ban will be lifted 60 days after the President transmits the certification to Congress.  The letter is available here.

Requested that the USS Arlington be commissioned in Virginia.  Congressman Forbes joined the Virginia congressional delegation in sending a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, asking that he ensure that the USS Arlington be commissioned in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The USS Arlington (LPD-24) was built to honor the heroes and victims of the September 11th, 2001 attack on the Pentagon.  Just days after sending the letter, the Virginia delegation was informed by Secretary Mabus that the Navy will commission the ship in Norfolk.  The letter is available here.

Met with superintendents of Norfolk Naval Shipyard.  Congressman Forbes met with superintendents from Norfolk Naval Shipyard to receive an update on the status of the shipyard.  Discussions were held on the status of the workforce, the challenges ahead and the need for full funding of Navy ship maintenance to ensure a strong national defense and a strong industrial base for years to come.

Worked to guarantee pay for our military members.
  Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Guarantee Paychecks for America’s Military Families Act, H.R.1551.  This bill would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to continue to make payments to military members and federal civilians working in combat zones in the event the government runs out of money to make all outstanding payments, or if there is a lapse in federal funding. This bill would establish the following payment priorities: (1)  Interest on the debt to prevent a technical default; (2)  Strictly uniformed military members wherever they are serving; and, (3) Military and civilian defense personnel serving in combat zones.  Military men and women should not have to worry about whether or not they will continue to receive their well-deserved paychecks, allowing their families at home to put food on the table.

Providing Funding and Setting Key Policies for U.S. Armed Forces.  Congressman Forbes led debate on important provisions in the House Armed Services Committee markup debate of the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, H.R.1540.  Congressman Forbes’ accomplishments in the national defense policy bill include: requiring notice of large-scale military realignments, eliminating QDR budget constraints, addressing financial management and audit shortfalls, reducing energy costs, and evaluating industrial base health.  The committee approved the legislation by a vote of 60-1, sending it to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

Strengthened our national defense.  Congressman Forbes supported a number of policy provisions of broad importance to the defense of the United States in the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.  These provisions are designed to improve: long-term strategic planning, financial management, and the prosecution of terror suspects.

Long-Term Strategic Planning
-Declaring the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) a critical strategic document to be uninfluenced by budgetary pressures. In recent years, the QDR review has become overly constrained and informed by budget limitations. Congressman Forbes introduced an amendment to address this problem by making clear that the QDR is a strategic document, not a budgetary document, and should be based upon a process unconstrained by budgetary influences so that such influences do not determine or limit its outcome. (Text)
-Requiring Department of Defense (DoD) to give Congress 90-day advance notice of large-scale military realignments. At Congressman Forbes’ request, an amendment was added requiring DoD and the Administration to give advance notice to Congress of any large-scale military realignments over 1,000 military personnel rather than making unilateral decisions on the posture of our Armed Forces. (Text)

Financial Management: Audit Readiness and Cost-Savings
-Requiring the GAO to assess the extent to which the Department of Defense conducted business case analysis prior to recommending or implementing efficiency initiatives. The provision requires GAO to use a case study approach to identify best practices and deficiencies in DoD’s analysis related to cost-saving measures. The provision requires GAO to include recommendations on how best to apply business case analysis and best practices within DoD prior to implementation of any future efforts to identify savings. There is concern that short-sighted decisions to achieve savings targets can harm national defense efforts while also failing to realize the intended cost reductions if adequate analysis is not conducted. (Sec.1065)
-Improving DoD’s financial management to expedite audit readiness.  Congressman Forbes’ provision was included in the bill to require the Secretary of Defense to break out the budgetary resources that are allocated directly to improving audit readiness and executing the Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIAR) Plan. The provision requires the Secretary to certify that the funds allocated in the budget submission are sufficient for DoD to reach its deadline to provide legally required audit-ready financial statements. (Sec.1066)
-Encouraging DoD to lower energy costs by focusing on alternatives with beneficial returns of investment. The Committee continues to monitor DoD’s energy use and the bill encourages DoD to be more energy efficient, demonstrate a return of the energy investments, and enhance energy security. Specifically, promoting energy-efficient technologies in logistics support for contingency operations will reduce demand for fuel, result in cost savings, and reduce the risks associated with fuel convoys. (Sec.2821-2831)

Prosecution of Terror Suspects
-Clarifying the detention of combatants at Guantanamo and reaffirming Congress’ commitment to the War on Terror. The bill contains a number of the provisions that are included in the Detainee Security Act of 2011, H.R. 968, which Congressman Forbes originally cosponsored.  Provisions include affirmation of armed conflict with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, prohibition on use of funds to construct detention facilities in the U.S., prohibition on use of funds to transfer detainees to the U.S., prohibition of funds to transfer detainees to foreign countries unless certain conditions are met, and prohibition of family member visitation. Congressman Forbes also supported an amendment requiring the Department of Justice to consult with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense before beginning prosecution of an alien for a terrorist offense to assess whether or not the alien should be prosecuted in by military commission and whether the alien should be transferred into military custody for intelligence interviews.  (Sec.1031-1040 and Text)

Called for a closer look at China’s military modernization.
Congressman Forbes supported the addition of a number of that would help transform Congress’ approach to the growing military threat of China in the Western Pacific.  Key provisions include:
-Strengthening the annual military power report on China. An amendment introduced by Congressman Forbes and adopted by the full Committee expands the requirement of the annual military power report of China to include an assessment on the nature of China’s cyber activities directed against the Department of Defense (DoD) and related damage as well as China’s efforts, including technological transfer and espionage, to access DoD information.  The amendment also reestablishes the name of the report as the “Annual Report on Military Power of the People's Republic of China.” (Text)
-Requiring the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to identify Pacific Command’s most critical needs. The bill requires the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to submit to Congress, as part of the Chairman’s assessment of risks under the National Military Strategy, an assessment of the critical deficiencies and strengths in force capabilities (including manpower, logistics, intelligence, and mobility support) identified during the preparation and review of contingency plans of each geographic combatant commander and assess the impact on security objectives and strategic plans. The intent of the provision is to encourage a holistic approach in evaluating our global force structure and resources in light of China’s rapid military modernization and to ensure Congress is aware of the most critical needs of our combatant commanders in executing their mission. (Sec.954)
-Evaluating the United States’ industrial base to identify potential gaps that might affect military readiness. DoD relies on thousands of suppliers to ensure that it has the weapons, supporting equipment, and raw materials it needs to support current and future conflicts against conventional opponents. However, increasing globalization in the defense industry presents uncertainty in the U.S. forces’ ability to maintain a reliable and sufficient supplier base in the event of conflicts. The Committee notes that studies by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have found that DoD lacks a framework and consistent approach for managing supplier base concerns such as counterfeit parts in the supply chain and reliance on rare earth materials from the People’s Republic of China in military equipment and systems. As a result, the bill would require a specific assessment of the vulnerabilities posed to defense systems. (Sec.1078)
-Enhancing readiness force posture in the Western Pacific to balance China’s increasing military power. Under Congressman Forbes’ leadership, the Readiness Subcommittee inserted language to enhance the readiness posture of the Armed Forces in the Pacific region in response to the military modernization and expansion of China. The bill provides for the strategic realignment of Marine Corps forces and requires annual certification of the health and status of defense prepositioned stocks supporting strategic Operation Plans.  The bill also authorizes nearly $198 million for military construction in the Western Pacific to allow for Marine Corps realignment, hospital construction, and the upgrade of capabilities at Andersen Air Force base to support long-range strike capabilities. (Sec.4601)
-Reviewing and reporting on Iran’s and China’s conventional and anti-access capabilities. The bill would require the Secretary of Defense to submit to relevant congressional committees a classified study, undertaken by an independent entity outside of DoD, assessing the gaps between conventional and anti-access capabilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China and the U.S. forces’ ability to overcome such capabilities.  (Sec.1221)
-Assessing national security implications of U.S. federal debt owned by China. The legislation requires the Director of the Congressional Budget Office to determine and make publicly available the amount of accrued interest on the U.S. federal debt paid to the People’s Republic of China during the five years preceding enactment.  Additionally, this section requires the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, to carry out an assessment of the impacts to U.S. national security posed by Chinese-held U.S. debt. (Sec.1225)

Supported Virginia and the 4th Congressional District in Defense Policy Bill. 
Congressman Forbes supported a number of provisions important to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Fourth Congressional District, and Virginia’s many defense installations and service members.
-Striking $30 million that would have been used to move a Norfolk-based nuclear aircraft carrier to Mayport, FL.  Due to ongoing concerns about the overall costs associated with establishing a nuclear carrier homeport in Mayport, FL, and the construction and maintenance costs associated with the Navy’s proposal, the full Committee approved language striking $30 million in funding to support a redundant nuclear aircraft carrier homeporting at Mayport, FL. (Sec.2204)
-Fairly compensating military personnel and families. This bill includes a 1.6% pay raise effective on January 1, 2012 for service members.  It also ends the “widow’s tax” by allowing surviving family members of military men and women killed in action to receive compensation from both the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and the Death and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).  (Sec.601 and Sec.651)
-Compelling competition for Joint Strike Fighter alternate engine.  The House Armed Services Committee overwhelmingly passed an amendment that would compel the Defense Department to allow General Electric and Rolls Royce to use testing facilities for their Joint Strike Fighter competitive engine program at zero cost to American taxpayers. The GE-Rolls Royce team recently announced plans to self-fund the F136 engine, mitigating the Pentagon’s concerns about short-term costs while preserving the long-term savings associated with breaking up the Pratt & Whitney engine monopoly. (Text)
-Authorizing nearly $75 million for modernization and improvements to Norfolk Naval Shipyard. At the Navy’s request, the legislation authorizes $74.864 million for the construction of a controlled industrial facility to improve and modernize Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the Navy’s oldest and largest industrial facility. (Sec. 4601)
-Authorizing $81.3 million to construct bachelor quarters at Norfolk Naval Station.  At the Navy’s request, the legislation authorizes $81.3 million to construct a new-enlisted bachelor quarters housing 620 junior sailors as part of the Navy’s Homeport Ashore initiative. (Sec. 4601)
-Investing $11 million in Fort Picket for Combined Arms Collective Training Facilities (CACTF).  At the Army’s request, $11 million is authorized for military construction allowing Fort Picket to construct Combined Arms Collective Training Facilities (CACTF). CACTF are designed to provide individual through battalion-level home station, urban operations training. These new training facilities will allow units to train soldiers on building entry and room clearing techniques under live and blank-fire conditions and limited subterranean training in an urban training facility large enough to conduct combined arms force-on-force collective training at the battalion/task force level. (Sec.2601)
-Increasing funding for Navy ship and aircraft depot maintenance. The legislation increases the President’s requested $6.6 billion by $466.7 million to fully fund Navy ship and aircraft depot maintenance for both the active and reserve components. Ensuring the maintenance of preexisting equipment is particularly vital at a time of increased pressure on the Department of Defense to reduce spending. (Sec.4301)
-Fully funding shipbuilding construction plans. The legislation provides $14.9 billion and supports 10 new construction ships in the budget request. (Sec.4101) Specifically, the bill provides:
    o    $4.75 billion for procurement of nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarines for immediate  
          construction and longterm planning;
    o    $555 million for nuclear aircraft carrier construction; and
    o    $530 million to support nuclear aircraft carrier refueling.
-Increasing funding for Army Base Operating Services (BOS).  The bill provides $7.8 billion, an increase of $230 million, for Army Base Operating Services to support day-to-day operations on Army bases including: financial management, engineering management, personnel and community activities, information management, logistics management, health services, law enforcement and security, planning staff, and command activities. (Sec.4301)
-Directing the Secretary of Defense to perform cost/benefit analysis of Africa Command basing alternatives.  The bill directs the Secretary of Defense to conduct this basing review in an open and transparent manner and encourages the Secretary to locate Africa Command in an area like Virginia that is capable of providing the maximum military value to the realigned command and at the minimum cost required to implement the relocation. (Title XXVIII)

Ensured the Readiness Posture of the Armed Forces.
  Under the leadership of Congressman Forbes, who serves as Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, the Readiness Subcommittee approved a mark, or portion of the national defense policy bill, that designates critical funding and sets strategic priorities to ensure that the nation’s Armed Forces are ready to meet any challenge around the world.  The mark will also benefit military installations, personnel, and key defense interests throughout Virginia’s Fourth congressional district while wisely expending tax dollars entrusted to Congress through cost-saving measures and analysis of returns of investment.  Read more about the national defense policy bill here.

Called for U.S. Navy to comply with the Defense of Marriage Act.
  Congressman Forbes joined 62 other members of the House of Representatives in sending a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus calling for the Navy to obey the law in regard to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  This comes in response to a recent Navy memo allowing for military bases and facilities to be used for same-sex marriage ceremonies as well as allowing Navy chaplains to perform same-sex marriages in their official capacity. Read the letter here.

Discussed aid to Pakistan on FoxNews.  Congressman Forbes appeared on the FoxNews Channel’s “America’s News HQ” to discuss the death of Osama bin Laden and the future of the United States’ relations with Pakistan. He stated in the interview that the United States must press for answers from Pakistan regarding the government’s knowledge of bin Laden’s whereabouts just over thirty miles from their capital city for over five years. Watch the interview here.

Protected American defense forces from the costs of military operations in Libya.  Congressman Forbes co-sponsored legislations, H.R.1323, that would require the President to submit recommended non-security accounts to be cut to fund operations in Libya.  Congress could then reallocate the funds the President recommends to the Department of Defense in order to fund more urgent national defense priorities.

Cut $30 million in funding to send a nuclear aircraft carrier to Mayport, FL.  Congressman Forbes submitted a request to the House Appropriations Military Contruction and Veteran Affairs subcommittee requesting the elimination of $30 million in funding that the Administration has requested to prepare Mayport, Florida to homeport a nuclear carrier currently stationed in Norfolk, Virginia.  Congressman Forbes was joined by five other members of the Virginia Congressional delegation in making this request.

Supported full compensation of military families.  Congressman Forbes signed onto legislation, H.R.178, that would allow the surviving spouse or children of service members killed in action or by a service connected cause to receive their full compensation.  Under current law, members of a military family entitled to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation after the loss of a loved one are no longer eligible to what they were otherwise entitled to under the Survivor Benefit Plan, severely impacting approximately 60,000 military widows and widowers.

Kept dangerous terrorists off U.S. soil.  Congressman Forbes cosponsored legislation, H.R.513, to prohibit the use of federal funds for transferring detainees, currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States.  Congressman Forbes offered a similar provision to the fiscal year 2011 Defense Authorization Bill that would prevent the Department of Defense from using its funds for this purpose.  H.R. 513 is broader in that it covers all federal money and does not expire at the end of the current year.

Demanded Accountability from DoD on JFCOM Closure.
  Congressman Forbes inserted a provision into the continuing resolution, which was signed into law by the President, to halt funding for the dismantling of Joint Forces Command unless the Department of Defense provides Congress with the proper analysis of cost savings, strategic and operational consequences, and local economic impact of the command closure.  The new law does not prevent the closure of Joint Forces Command, but it does does ensure that Congress can conduct its constitutional obligation of oversight and assess whether or not the closure of JFCOM is actually in the best interest of our national defense.  Read more here.

Recognized reservists as veterans.  Congressman Forbes co-sponsored legislation, H.R.1025, to allow retired members of the National Guard and reserves to be recognized as veterans.  The legislation does not afford any new benefits, but rather simply grants these men and women the title they have earned in service of our nation.

Supported military families.  Congressman Forbes joined the Congressional Military Family Caucus.  The caucus’ mission is educating Members of Congress on the many problems and challenges that face our nation’s military families.  The caucus is focused particularly on Wounded Warrior Care, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as military education and child care.

Questioned DOD officials on military construction and energy issues.  Congressman Forbes held a hearing in the Readiness Subcommittee on military construction and energy issues facing our military installations.  During the hearing, Congressman Forbes questioned officials from the Air Force, Army, and Navy on their military construction priorities and inquired as to what they are doing to ensure the energy security of our vital bases.  Congressman Forbes also questioned the officials on the parameters used by the military to determine how to best invest in energy and military construction projects. Watch the hearing here.

Learned about Navy plans for Norfolk Naval Shipyard.  Congressman Forbes attended a briefing to learn about the Navy’s proposal to construct a Controlled Industrial Facility that will be used to maintain the nuclear propulsion components of aircraft carriers and submarines, as well as their plans to demolish two unused drydocks at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.  Representatives of the shipyard discussed the project and the benefits it will bring for the shipyard’s ability to accomplish its mission and provide jobs in the region.

Supported Pay for Our Military.  Congressman Forbes cosponsored legislation, H.R.1297, to ensure that every soldier, sailor, airman, marine, National Guardsman, reservist and Coast Guardsman would get paid their salary and allowances in full and on time in the event of a government shutdown.  Every day, these service members place their lives on the line to protect our country, and they should not be on the battlefield wondering if their families at home have the money they need for rent or groceries.  Congressman Forbes stated that if there was a lapse in funding, he would forego his salary until our men and women in uniform had been paid.

Ended inefficient Department of Defense practices.  Congressman Forbes supported legislation, H.R.1246, to reduce funds appropriated for the printing and reproduction of Department of Defense (DoD) reports by 10%.  In FY2012, the DoD proposed spending $357 million on the printing and reproduction of reports while failing to fully utilize modern technologies to drive down costs.  The legislation would generate $35.7 million in savings in FY2012 alone, allowing the funds to be reinvested in higher priorities.  This bill passed the House by a vote of 393-0.

Joined the Defense Energy Security Caucus.  Congressman Forbes signed up for the Defense Energy Security caucus, which is dedicated to advancing energy concepts within the Department of Defense that will save money and enhance the capabilities of our Armed Forces.  The caucus will educate members of Congress on the challenges and opportunities faced by the Department of Defense and how Congress can help our Armed Forces achieve greater energy security through smart energy initiatives. Recently, Congressman Forbes wrote about energy security in The Hill.  Read the article here.

Questioned DoD Officials on U.S. capabilities in the Pacific.  Congressman Forbes participated in a hearing on the budget requests for U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea.  During the hearing, Congressman Forbes asked Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, if U.S. forces in the Pacific were adequately postured to prevail in a sustained conflict in the Western Pacific.  Watch the full exchange here.

Joined Congressional Missile Defense Caucus.  Congressman Forbes joined the Congressional Missile Defense Caucus, which is dedicated to educating Members of Congress on the ballistic missile threats to our nation and our allies as well as the technologies and opportunities that exist to better protect the United States from these threats.

Questioned DOD officials on Operations in Libya.  Congressman Forbes participated in a House Armed Services Committee hearing on current U.S. military operations in Libya.  During the hearing he asked Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about the legal authority of the military action under the War Powers Resolution.  Specifically, Congressman Forbes inquired as to whether or not the U.S. would consider it an act of war if another nation launched a tomahawk missile at New York City.  Watch the full exchange here.

Met with General Odierno to discuss future of JFCOM.
  Congressman Forbes met with General Raymond Odierno, Commander of United States Joint Forces Command, to discuss his concerns regarding the closure of JFCOM and the future of jointness in the Armed Forces.  Congressman Forbes expressed his concern that we have become more concerned with our budget than the future strategic interests of our nation’s military.

Examined the Future of Military Jointness.  Congressman Forbes, Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, held a hearing to explore the current and future status of military jointness.  The hearing focused on the closure of Joint Forces Command and its impact on the future structure and strategic direction of the military.  Congressman Forbes questioned General Odierno, commander of United States Joint Forces Commander and Vice Admiral Gortney, Director of the Joint Staff.  Under the new structure, the Joint Staff will assume all of the activities of Joint Forces Command that have been deemed essential by DOD leaders.  View the hearing by clicking here.

Supported Military Tribunals for Terrorists.
  Congressman Forbes co-sponsored legislation, H.R.478, that would require any terrorist who attacks the United States or its people be interrogated, prosecuted and tried in military, not civilian court.

Hearing From General Petraeus on Afghanistan
.  Congressman Forbes received testimony from General David Petraeus and Undersecretary of Defense Michelle Flournoy on the developments and way forward in Afghanistan. Congressman Forbes questioned the witnesses on key lessons learned from the conflict as well as what we are doing to ensure that, while this conflict continues, we also give adequate focus to preparing our forces for future scenarios against more modernized militaries, such as China.

Questioned DoD officials on proceedings against 9/11 conspirators.
Congressman Forbes questioned Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn on the significant delays in prosecuting the 9/11 conspirators that remain detained at Guantanamo Bay. Specifically, he asked the Secretary when we can expect charges to be re-filed and the military tribunal to begin so that the conspirators of terror attacks like 9/11 can finally be brought to justice.

Opposed hasty withdrawal of military personnel from Afghanistan.
Congressman Forbes opposed a resolution, H.Con.Res.28, directing the President to remove U.S. Armed Forces from Afghanistan. The legislation drew on The War Powers Resolution of 1973 allowing Congress to order the withdrawal of military personnel fighting broad in the absence of a declaration of war or explicit statutory authorization. The resolution called for the removal of all U.S. troops within 30 days of its adoption, well ahead of the President’s gradual drawdown date of July 2011.  This bill failed to pass the House by a vote of 93-321.

Worked to prevent procuring defense systems from China.
Congressman Forbes co-sponsored a resolution, H. Res.106, expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that defense systems, including the Presidential Helicopter, Marine One, should not be procured from companies controlled by the government of China.

Asked DoD “Are We Ready?” in the Pacific.
Congressman Forbes, Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, held a hearing to explore the current and future status of our military in the Western Pacific. The hearing focused on the emergence of China’s military buildup and anti-access/area-denial strategy and the Air Force and Navy plan to complete their Air-Sea Battle Plan. In addition, Members received testimony regarding issues related to the proposed move of Marine units from Okinawa, Japan to Guam.

Asked the Department of Defense: Are we Ready?
  Congressman Forbes held a hearing in the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee to explore the state of our military readiness and the competition between our nation’s defense priorities and increasingly limited resources.  Congressman Forbes set aside the subcommittee’s standard operating procedures in this hearing so that Members of Congress and DoD officials were able to set aside talking points and prepared remarks in exchange for candor and open dialogue.

Discussed Readiness posture of the Air Force.  Congressman Forbes met with General Breedlove, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, to discuss current readiness issues impacting the Air Force.  They discussed the impacts of the current continuing resolution, recent military developments by the Chinese, force structure in the Pacific and how the Department of Defense efficiency initiatives will impact Air Force maintenance operations in the coming years.

Questioned Navy leadership on ship maintenance.  In a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Department of the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget submission, Congressman Forbes asked Navy leadership if ship maintenance was being adequately funded.  Specifically, he asked if the Navy would provide Congress an updated assessment of how they plan to grow our fleet if they are not funding maintenance of the existing fleet.  The Navy’s 2012 budget submission contains a $367 million shortfall in ship maintenance that will result in 44 deferred maintenance availabilities.

Opposed Offering Defense Contracts to China.  Congressman Forbes, along with eight other Members of Congress, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressing concern over recent news that Chinese-owned defense companies plan to seek U.S. defense contracts. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC), a state-owned Chinese defense company, is working with a U.S. firm to prepare bids for the new presidential helicopter and the replacement training jet for the Air Force. The letter encourages the Secretary of Defense to consider the national security implications of such a decision and encourages him to work closely with Congress to ensure hardware vital to national security is not procured from state-owned foreign sources.

Blocked the disestablishment of U.S. Joint Forces Command.
The House of Representatives passed an amendment offered by Congressman Forbes (H.AMDT.127), to the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution that would prohibit the use of any funds to shutter the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) for the fiscal year to allow Congress the time to study how restructuring JFCOM could impact national security and the ability of the Armed Forces to work jointly. The Department of Defense has targeted the Command for closure but has not provided justification, cost-benefit analysis, or a defined provider of this function in the future. Last year, 37 bipartisan Members of Congress from 22 states signed a letter requesting a subpoena of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to provide information justifying the closure of JFCOM and other defense initiatives.  This amendment was agreed to by a voice vote.

Cut the Secretary of Defense’s “party fund.”
The U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment offered by Congressman Forbes (H.AMDT.128) to the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution to eliminate $2 million allocated to the Secretary of Defense to host parties and dinners until the Department of Defense complies with the law requiring auditable financial statements. The Department of Defense is one of only two cabinet level departments that have never been able to receive a clean audit opinion of its financial statements.  This amendment passed by a vote of 241-184.

Opposed a monopoly of F-35 alternative engine development.
Congressman Forbes opposed an amendment (H.AMDT.16) to the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution eliminating funding for the F-136 engine program. The engine is under development and in competition with the F-135 engine to equip the three planned variants of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. Competition between the F-135 and F-136 industry teams, unlike the sole source contract currently pursued by the DoD, will lead to continued technological advancements and cost efficiencies ensuring the DoD is afforded the opportunity to select the best engine for an aircraft that will constitute the bulk of the United States' fighter aircraft fleet by 2025.  This bill passed by a vote of 233-198.

Reintroduced legislation to designate Honor and Remember Flag.
  Congressman Forbes reintroduced legislation to designate the Honor and Remember Flag as an official symbol to recognize and honor members of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty.  The bill, H.R.546, would amend Title 36 of the United States Code to require that the Honor and Remember Flag is flown under the national flag and POW/MIA flag at federal buildings on federal holidays.

Supported our undersea warriors.
  Congressman Forbes, with other members of Congress, sent a letter to the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee asking that the Navy’s request to build two Virginia Class submarines this year be fully funded.

Supported unmanned systems for our war fighters. 
Congressman Forbes joined the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus.  The caucus plans study the strategic, tactical and scientific value of unmanned systems.  The caucus recognizes the urgent need to rapidly develop and deploy these systems to promote a stronger national defense while keeping our fighting men and women out of harm’s way.

Recognized Medal of Honor Recipients. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res.49, the Staff Sergeant Salvatore A. Giunta Medal of Honor Flag Resolution, which allows Medal of Honor recipients or their immediate family member, or their Representative or the representative of the family member, to provide the recipient or the family member with a Capitol-flown flag and certificate signed by the Speaker of the House and the respective Representative.  This resolution passed by a vote of 424-0.

House Armed Services Committee Hearing on DOD Efficiencies.  Congressman Forbes questioned Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn on the proposed efficiency initiatives and budget cuts in the Department of Defense this week.  In regards to law requiring that government agencies are able to audit their books he asked the Deputy Secretary: “If the Department of Defense does not know where our defense dollars are going, how then are they qualified to talk about efficiencies? Furthermore, if the Department of Defense does not even have mechanisms in place to perform the audits, how are they able to comply with the law? Finally, if all agencies are required to perform regular audits, how is the Department of Defense able to skirt this compliance? If we want to get serious about efficiencies, we need to first make it clear that the Department of Defense is not above the law, and, second, demand to know where our defense dollars are going.” A video of the hearing is available here.

Saved taxpayer dollars by using multi-year contracts.
  Congressman Forbes supported (H.R.6102) that amends the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 extending authority of the Secretary of the Navy to purchase F/A-18E, F/A-18F, and EA-18G aircraft using multi-year contracts, which would save taxpayers $600 million.  The bill passed the House by a voice vote.

Honored those lost on September 11th.
Congressman Forbes joined members of Congress to unanimously express their deepest sympathies to the families of those who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks on September 11th (H.Res.1610).  This resolution passed by a voice vote.

Honored D-Day troops.
Congressman Forbes supported (H.Res.1251) to recognize and honor United States troops who gave their lives on D-Day at the Battle of Normandy.  This resolution passed the House by a voice vote.

Championed the Benefits of Military Modeling and Simulation.
  Congressman Forbes, co-founder of the Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus, attended a hearing on the use of modeling and simulation in enhancing military readiness. The hearing was requested by Congressman Forbes earlier this year as a way to provide an opportunity for members of the Committee to hear from M&S leaders on how the technology can revolutionize the U.S. military. Senior military leaders discussed ways the Department of Defense is using M&S to improve training and reduce costs.

Strengthened our nation’s defense capabilities.  Congressman Forbes supported the Homeland Security Science and Technology Authorization Act of 2010 (H.R.4842) that invests $1.1 billion for  the research and development  division of the Department of Homeland Security.  This bill passed the House by voice vote.

Remembered the events of September 11th.  Congressman Forbes supported the National September 11th Memorial & Museum Commemorative Medal Act of 2009 (H.R.4684) that allows the Secretary of the Treasury to mint a limited number of silver coins in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001.  This bill passed the House by a voice vote.

Questioned Mayport Spending. Congressman Forbes questioned senior military leaders from the Department of Defense on what strategic requirements changed between Base Realignment and Closure efforts in 2005 and today to necessitate the expenditure of $1 billion in scarce funding during a time of tight DoD budgets.

Championed cyber education and defense.  Congressman Forbes supported H.Res.1244, which recognizes and commends the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.  This annual event brings together some of the brightest young minds in America to help ensure the future of our nation’s cyber security.  The resolution passed the House by a vote of 412-2.
 
Honored the West Virginia National Guard.
  Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.1153), which recognizes the heroic effort of the West Virginia National Guard in the rescue of 17 individuals from a military helicopter crash.  This resolution passed the House by a voice vote.

Opposed Iran’s Nuclear Programs.  Congressman Forbes voted in favor of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2009 (H.R.2194).  This amended version of the bill imposes new economic penalties aimed at discouraging the nuclear weapons program of Iran by targeting refined petroleum sales and banks that finance the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.  This bill passed the House by a vote of 408-8, 1 present.

Supported the memory of our fallen men and women.  Congressman Forbes coauthored a letter to the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee requesting immediate committee action on H.R.1034.  This legislation would designate the Honor and Remember Flag as an official national symbol to recognize and honor members of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty.  The flag was created by George Lutz of Chesapeake, VA to honor the fallen, which includes his son who was killed in action in Iraq.

Voted against elimination of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in the Armed Services.  Congressman Forbes urged fellow Members of Congress to await the results of a Department of Defense study on the reversal implementation of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to ensure that Congress has comprehensive information before making such a significant policy change.  Congressman Forbes voted against the Defense Policy bill due to the inclusion of this provision.  The bill passed the House 229-186.

Approved the 2011 Defense Policy Bill in Committee. Congressman Forbes voted to support the 2011 Defense Policy Bill in the House Armed Services Committee that provides critical funding for ships, missile systems, and aircraft, as well as pay and benefits for our military men and women who defend America.  This bill was unanimously approved in the committee.

Offered amendments to increase the study and use of modeling and simulation. Congressman Forbes offered two amendments to the 2011 Defense Policy Bill in the House Armed Services Committee that would require the use of modeling and simulation to further develop budget models within the Department of Defense as well as simulation technologies to improve cybersecurity for the Department.  Both of his amendments were adopted in the final version of the bill.

Prevented design funding needed to move a carrier from Norfolk to Mayport.  Congressman Forbes joined other Virginia Representatives in offering an amendment to the 2011 Defense Policy Bill preventing $2 million from being allocated for the design of construction projects needed to relocate an aircraft carrier to Mayport, Florida.  The amendment was adopted in the final version of the bill.

Honored American five-star generals. Congressman Forbes cosponsored and voted to support the Five-Star Generals Commemorative Coin Act (H.R.1177), which creates coins recognizing the contributions and service of U.S. Army Five-Star Generals.  This bill passed the House of Representatives by voice vote.

Honored servicemen and women serving in explosive detection professions. Congressman Forbes voted to support a resolution (H.Res.1294) designating of the first Saturday in May as National Explosive Ordnance Disposal Day to honor those who are serving and have served in the noble and self-sacrificing profession of Explosive Ordnance Disposal in the United States Armed Forces. This resolution passed the House by vote of 388-0.

Honored those who constructed the USS New Mexico. Congressman Forbes cosponsored legislation (H.Res.1132) to honor the individuals and organizations that contributed to the construction of the USS New Mexico (SSN 779), which is one of the most advanced submarines in U.S. Navy history.  This resolution passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 378-1.

Expressed support for the United States Marine Corps. Congressman Forbes supported legislation (H.R.24) to rename the Department of the Navy to the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps.  The bill passed the House of Representatives by voice vote.

Improved defense contracting process and reduced Pentagon wasteful spending. Congressman Forbes voted to support the Implementing Management for Performance and related Reforms to Obtain Value in Every Acquisition (IMPROVE) Act of 2010 (H.R.5013). This bill would require the Pentagon to begin to comprehensively manage the defense acquisition system and acquisition workforce to save taxpayer dollars and ensure that the right materials get to war fighters sooner.  The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 417 to 3.

Met with shipbuilding industry leaders. Congressman Forbes met with key leadership of the Shipbuilders Council of America, the largest and most broadly-based national trade association representing the U.S. shipyard industry, to discuss issues facing the United States shipyard and ship repair industrial base.

Sought answers on how to best improve training for reservists. During a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Hearing, Congressman Forbes questioned Lieutenant General Jack Stultz, the top military leader for the Army Reserve, about the importance of immersion training for our reserve forces in effort to provide improved training, prevent loss of life, and save scarce funding resources.

Improved defense contracting process and reduced Pentagon wasteful spending.  Congressman Forbes voted in favor of the Implementing Management for Performance and related Reforms to Obtain Value in Every Acquisition (IMPROVE) Act of 2010 (H.R.5013) in a House Armed Services Committee markup.  This bill would require the Pentagon to begin to comprehensively manage the defense acquisition system and acquisition workforce to save taxpayer dollars and ensure that the right materials get to war fighters sooner.  The Committee unanimously approved the legislation.

Examined US Cybersecurity.  Congressman Forbes sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Ike Skelton, requesting that the Committee hold hearings to examine the impact of the cyber warfare threats from China and other countries to our military readiness.  Over the past several years, China has been the point of origin for a barrage of malicious and damaging cyber attacks targeting defense-related information in the United States.

Called for an independent commission to review the Navy’s plans to move an aircraft carrier from Hampton Roads to Mayport, FL.  Congressman Forbes sent a letter to Governor Bob McDonnell asking him to establish an independent commission to review the Navy’s reasoning and its impact on U.S. national security and the welfare of 1.7 million people in the Hampton Roads area.

Discussed Chinese Military Buildup with a Top Navy Official. Congressman Forbes met with the top Navy military commander for the entire Pacific region, Admiral Robert Willard, to discuss issues of national defense. Specifically, they discussed the rapid and non-transparent build-up of the Chinese military. Congressman Forbes is founder of the Congressional China Caucus.

Questioned Senior Military Leaders on Uses of Modeling and Simulation. At a House Armed Service Committee hearing, Congressman Forbes asked Admiral Robert Willard how the Navy uses modeling and simulation to address the challenges that threaten to undermine stability in the Pacific, such as terrorism, military expansion from non-allied nations such as China, and the readiness of our own fleet.

Raised Doubts About the Navy’s Mayport Analysis.  Congressman Forbes questioned Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the Navy’s #2 military officer, on the Navy’s decision to move an aircraft carrier from Norfolk, Virginia to Mayport, Florida.  Congressman Forbes pointed to NOAA data over the past 160 years that shows that Mayport is far more vulnerable to hurricanes than Norfolk.  The Navy claims that neither location has a “significant advantage.” A video of the hearing can be viewed here. Charts presented at the hearing are available here.

Questioned Pentagon officials about prioritizing Navy construction dollars. Congressman Forbes questioned the Pentagon’s top installation official as to why the Pentagon is seeking to expand its physical footprint at Mayport, Florida for an aircraft carrier at a cost of up to $1 billion after the Department did not make such a recommendation during the BRAC 2005 Round. BRAC is a Department-wide study that resulted in billions of dollars being spent to consolidate, rather than expand, military facilities.  This is a concern to Congressman Forbes, particularly because there is a more than $3 billion backlog in military construction at the Navy’s four public shipyards, including Norfolk Naval Shipyard, as of December 2009.

Supported women serving in the U.S. Army.
Congressman Forbes gave introductory remarks at the annual U.S. Army Women’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to women who serve or have served in the U.S. Army. Congressman Forbes expressed his support for women serving in the Armed Forces and the critical role they have played over the years in defense of this nation.

Met with Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA), a broad-based national trade association representing the shipbuilding industry and discussed important issues facing the shipyard industrial base.  Hampton Roads is home to the largest naval base in the world, and two of the largest shipyards: Northrop Grumman Newport News and Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

Ensured military personnel are properly counted in the 2010 Census.  Congressman Forbes signed a letter to the President of the United States expressing concern over how deployed military personnel will be counted in the 2010 Census. The current census process uses population data for military personnel based on home of record, rather than current where service members actually live, depriving many state and local communities of resources to support military populations.

Discussed expanding modeling and simulation. Congressman Forbes met with Mr. John Illgen from the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), which is America’s leading defense industry association representing thousands of business and individual defense contractors around the nation and in the Virginia Fourth Congressional District. They discussed the importance of expanding M&S technology in Virginia and across the nation.

Addressed national security issues with the top military officer for U.S. Southern Command.  Congressman Forbes met with General Doug Frazier, the senior leader for military operations in the southern hemisphere including areas such as Central America, South America and the Caribbean to discuss national security matters relating to that region of the world.

Affirmed the value of modeling and simulation to our military and economy. Congressman Forbes discussed the value of Modeling and Simulation with General Jim Mattis, Commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command in Suffolk and Norfolk, VA, including how the use of modeling and simulation ensures our troops have the best possible training and saves time, money, or lives. The modeling and simulation industry brought an economic output of $365 million to the Hampton Roads region in just one year alone.

Called for release of Pentagon report on Fort Hood shooting. Congressman Forbes signed a letter calling for the full release of the Pentagon report detailing information gathered on the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas that left 12 dead. The Pentagon report, called an annex, is not classified, yet it has been prohibited from being released to Members of Congress. The letter sent to the Secretary of Defense states "The restricted annex of the West-Clark investigation provides important insight and background for Americans to understand how such a transformation could have taken place.

Maintained a Strong National Defense.  Congressman Forbes signed a letter to the Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget urging him to support a strong national defense budget, especially as global threats increase. The letter states that "our long term domestic economic health relies upon sustaining our national defense requirements." The entire letter is available here.

Called for answers on our National Security Strategy. Congressman Forbes asked the Navy’s top acquisition official, Sean Stackley, whether the Navy’s shipbuilding plan is based on the Bush Administration’s National Security Strategy, or whether the Obama Administration has a new National Security Strategy. Mr. Stackley said he did not have an answer and would have to provide one at a later date.  According to the National Security Act, a new Administration is required to submit a new National Security Strategy within 150 days of taking office. Thus far, the Obama Administration has not submitted a National Security Strategy.

Continued to question plans to move an aircraft carrier from Norfolk to Mayport, Florida. Congressman Forbes and other members of the Hampton Roads Military Affairs Commission sent a letter to the Navy expressing concerns surrounding about a plan to move a Norfolk-based aircraft carrier to Florida. The Commission is comprised of federal, state, and local elected officials, retired military officers, and local business owners and Chamber of Commerce members.

Supported efforts to reverse NAS Oceana encroachment. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to the Virginia General Assembly opposing the elimination of annual funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia that is used to reverse encroachment at NAS Oceana. The Navy identified encroachment as a problem facing NAS Oceana during the 2005 BRAC Round. The Commonwealth has since provided funds to purchase land to reverse the problem.  Purchasing property around the base allows flight path safety to be enhanced and military readiness improved as possible pilot distractions are reduced.

Commended the Cell Phones for Soldiers program. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.Res 1078 commending Cell Phones for Soldiers, a non-profit organization that collects old and unwanted cell phones, recycles them and uses the proceeds to purchase calling cards so that American soldiers serving overseas can call friends and family free of charge. The program has provided 500,000 calling cards through donations totaling over 30 million minutes.

Honored the Last World War I Veteran. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H. Res.1060 congratulating Frank Buckles, America's last surviving WWI veteran, on his 109th birthday on February 1, 2010. Congressman Forbes wrote an editorial about Frank Buckles and World War I veterans in 2008.

Questioned the Mayport Carrier Homeporting Decision.  Congressman Forbes questioned the Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on how moving a carrier from Norfolk, Virginia to Mayport, Florida fits within the Navy's budget proposal. The Navy provided the Committee a list of unfunded requirements that equal more than $523 million – a sum that Congressman Forbes pointed out could be paid for by foregoing the unnecessary replication of facilities in Mayport, Florida.

Ensured appropriate body armor for our men and women in uniform. Congressman Forbes participated in a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Army’s FY2011 Budget where he received assurance from the Secretary of the Army, the Honorable John McHugh and the Army Chief of Staff General George Casey that the Army will establish a program to encourage the robust development of lightweight body armor to reduce the burden on our nation’s fighting men and women.

Encouraged transparency in our national defense procurement processes. Congressman Forbes sent a letter to the Secretary of Transportation expressing his concerns that highly-qualified and experienced defense contractors with locations in Virginia were being excluded from bidding for the operation and management of certain military vessels.

Called for realistic and achievable green energy goals for military bases. As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes expressed his support for the military’s progress in the use of clean energy technology so long as the Pentagon is also ensuring these moves do not impeded or hinder military training and use of ranges. Congressman Forbes encouraged the Department of Defense to utilize modeling and simulation as part of their green energy planning in order to reduce the interference of the devices.

Called for bipartisan intelligence legislation. Congressman Forbes voted against a partisan Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, H.R. 2701. In addition to cutting $30 million in funding, the bill does not prohibit using intelligence funds to bring Guantanamo detainees into the United States or prohibit secret payments to relocate detainees to foreign countries. In addition, the bill requires videotaping of all CIA interrogations, potentially endangering value of information collected and intelligence personnel.

Opposed allowing Gitmo detainees to return to terror networks. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Detainee Transfer and Release Security Act of 2010, H.R. 4490, which would prevent the release of detainees from being released to countries that 1) are state sponsors of terrorism, 2) do not have control of their territory, or 3) have a history of allowing detainees to return to terrorism. The senior leader of the organization that was responsible for planning and coordinating the Christmas Day terrorist attack on Northwest Flight 253 is a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.

Questioned the role political correctness played in the Fort Hood shooter investigation. Congressman Forbes questioned the panel that produced the final report on the Fort Hood incident, which does not contain a single reference to Major Nidal Hasan, the alleged attacker, nor his alleged ties to Islamic extremist groups. Congressman Forbes asked why the report did not examine how political correctness played a role in identifying Major Nidal Hasan in his performance reviews and as a threat to our citizens and soldiers.   

Heard testimony at a House Armed Services Committee that called a Mayport move a “waste of money.” Congressman Forbes questioned a panel of distinguished naval analysts during a HASC Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee hearing. Mr. Loren Thompson, CEO of the Lexington Institute, stated stating that moving an aircraft carrier from Norfolk, Virginia to Mayport, Florida would be “a waste of money” and that the move would border on “scandalous.”

Disassembled the Pentagon's rationale for moving a carrier to Mayport. Congressman Forbes participated in the House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Quadrennial Defense Review, where he questioned Michele Flournoy, the third-ranking official at the Pentagon, on whether replicating nuclear infrastructure to move an aircraft carrier from Norfolk, Virginia to Mayport, Florida is a wise use of taxpayer dollars given the increasing threat from China and mounting budget challenges. Watch their exchange here.

Questioned the Pentagon’s priorities amidst numerous funding shortfalls. Congressman Forbes questioned Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen on the Pentagon funding priorities. He asked the witnesses to prioritize the following four big budget items: 1) the lowest military pay raise in over 30 years, 2) a $3 billion shortfall in naval shipyard infrastructure, 3) a looming 125-fighter plane shortfall in the Navy, and 4) up to $1 billion to move a carrier from Norfolk, VA to Mayport, FL. The witnesses declined to prioritize one shortfall as more critical than any other.

Requested a House Armed Services Committee hearing on shipbuilding. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to Chairman Ike Skelton requesting a hearing on the Navy shipbuilding plan that was delivered to Congress. Decisions that Congress makes on shipbuilding this year could significantly affect future U.S. military national security capabilities, including the shipbuilding industrial base.

Joined the Hampton Roads Congressional delegation at the fifth annual M&S Leadership Summit. Congressman Forbes, co-chairman of the Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus, spoke at the National Training and Simulation Association M&S Leadership Summit where he laid out a three-point plan to support and expand this industry. Congressman Forbes stressed the importance of the M&S industry garnering official recognition by the Departments of Labor and Commerce to expand industry visibility and attract a strong workforce.  M&S has become a $640 million industry employing over 5,000 people with an average salary of $83,000 each year in Hampton Roads.

Insisted on a world-class standard of care for service members at Walter Reed Medical Center. Congressman Forbes cosigned a letter to William Lynn, Deputy Secretary of Defense expressing concern about construction at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda. There is concern that the current plan would not result in a world-class facility or meet accreditation standards.

Raised concerns about China’s burgeoning naval fleet. During a full House Armed Services Committee hearing, Congressman Forbes questioned the top U.S. military officer in the Pacific, Admiral Robert Willard, on the growth of the Chinese navy that now is larger than the United States. Congressman Forbes asked how our Navy can provide sufficient security for our sea lanes and oceans without a shipbuilding plan while the Chinese continue to accelerate their shipbuilding program. Watch the series of questions here

Supported Navy SEALs who captured a most-wanted figure. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H. Res 977, which honors Navy SEALs Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe, and Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas for their heroic actions in the capture of Ahmed Hashim Abed, the mastermind behind of one of the most notorious crimes against Americans in Iraq. The three SEALs have since been charged for actions related to the capture.

Honored Military Spouses. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 4043, to present an official lapel pin to honor the spouses of service members that have served in a combat zone for more than thirty days. Lapel pins would be distributed to the spouses of all servicemembers who have been deployed since September 11, 2001. Spouses of service members deployed prior to September 11th would also be eligible to apply for the pin.

Supported Our Men and Women in Uniform.  Congressman Forbes supported H.R. 3326, which funds the Department of Defense through 2010 and includes a 3.4% pay increase to our men and women in uniform, funding for Navy shipbuilding and ship repair, and funding for modeling and simulation at U.S. Joint Forces Command and the Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center.  The bill passed by a vote of 395-34.

Insisted on answers regarding the decision to try terrorists in the U.S. Congressman Forbes raised the issue during a House Armed Services Committee markup of H. Res. 924, which calls on the Secretary of Defense to transmit to Congress all documentation regarding the trial of 9/11 terrorists in New York City and the movement of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Called for transparency among the Air Force and local communities. Congressman Forbes sent a letter to Air Force officials asking them to involve local communities when making decisions related to missions and military bases. Some communities have not been able to meet with survey teams that review bases for new potential missions, despite the fact that the communities are directly impacted by new and existing missions.

Called for answers to the President’s strategy in Afghanistan. Congressman Forbes questioned General McChrystal, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, about President Obama’s plan for the way forward in Afghanistan. In particular, Congressman Forbes asked about the Administration’s self-imposed July 2011 deadline, saying “If as a nation we are saying that this is a war of necessity, how can we say we’ll withdraw troops in 18 months even if the mission isn’t complete?”

Called for robust construction of Navy submarines. Congressman Forbes joined 37 members of Congress in writing a letter to the Secretary of Defense and to the Secretary of the Navy requesting that the Defense Department continue to construct two submarines a year, as currently scheduled, and not make budget cuts to the detriment of our national defense.

Supported US Navy SEALS. Congressman Forbes joined 35 members of Congress in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates outlining their concerns with the unwarranted court-martial of three Navy SEALS accused of punching the terrorist responsible for the 2004 murder of American contractors in Fallujah, Iraq.

Met with General Chandler, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Congressman Forbes and General Chandler, who recently assumed his current post, discussed the Air Force mission, resources and readiness.

Honored anniversary of Echo Company. Congressman Forbes supported H.Con.Res. 199, recognizing the 10th Anniversary of the activation of Echo Company of the 100th Battalion of the 442nd Infantry, and the sacrifice of the soldiers and families of Echo Company in support of the United States. H.Con.Res.199 passed the House by a vote of 400-0.

Honored the National Guard. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res. 940, honoring the National Guard on the occasion of its 373rd anniversary. H.Res. 940 passed the House by a vote of 401-0.

Commended energy-saving initiatives of the U.S. Air Force. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res. 845, recognizing the United States Air Force and Dyess Air Force Base for their success in achieving energy savings and developing energy-saving innovations during Energy Awareness Month.  H.Res. 845 320 passed the House by a vote of 409-0.

Requested information about the Administration’s plans for the war in Afghanistan. Congressman Forbes sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Gates asking him to address the concerns on the minds of many across the country about how Afghanistan relates to our overall national security and what troop increases would mean for our military personnel who have repeatedly deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The letter also asks Secretary Gates to provide a public opportunity for Congress to ask officials questions about the Administration’s Afghanistan policy.   

Held a meeting about the proposed lodging facility at Fort Lee.
  Following the meeting with the Army and hotel owners, Congressman Forbes provided feedback to the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee.  Congressman Forbes outlined the discussions to date and encouraged the Subcommittee to consider the hotel owners concerns as the Subcommittee weigh the merits of the project.   

Expressed gratitude to fallen service members. Congressman Forbes voted for H. Res. 891, which expresses the gratitude of the House of Representative for service to our country of the Coast Guard and Marine Corps soldiers and sailors lost off the coast of California on October 29, 2009.  This resolution passed by a vote of 419-0. 

Addressed the 2009 graduating class of the Apprentice School at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Congressman Forbes urged the graduates to continue their excellence in ship repair that allows our Navy to protect our nation and the sea lanes that carry so much of the world’s trade. 

Stressed the importance of modeling and simulation. Congressman Forbes met with Vice Admiral Ann E. Rondeau, President of National Defense University (NDU), to discuss the importance of modeling and simulation to a myriad of industries, as well as the need to expand interagency training and education at NDU similar to the way it is used for training at U.S. Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, Virginia.  

Emphasized the importance of the Marine Security Forces.
Congressman Forbes met with U.S. Marine Corps officials to discuss the consolidation of the Marine Security Forces Regiment in Hampton Roads, Virginia or Cherry Point, North Carolina. The Marine Security Forces Regiment consists of about 1,500 marines. The training company is already located at Naval Support Activity Norfolk, Northwest Annex, in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Discussed the Outlying Landing Field. Congressman Forbes met with Admiral John C. Harvey, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, to discuss the readiness of the naval fleet and the Navy’s proposed Outlying Landing Field.  

Opposed politicization of the Department of Defense funding bill. Congressman Forbes joined 70 members of Congress in writing a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi opposing her efforts to include a DC Voting Rights bill as a part of the annual defense funding bill. The letter stated that each piece of legislation affecting the American people deserves to be discussed individually and receive a separate up or down vote on its own merits, rather than being hidden inside a necessary spending bill.

Honored USS NEW YORK and the legacy associated with the ship. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.Res. 856 commending the ship on her entry into active service.  USS NEW YORK’s hull is forged with steel from the World Trade Center. The ship sponsor is Dotty England, wife of former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Gordon England.

Opposed a defense bill driven by social policy and budget pressure rather than defense needs. Congressman Forbes voted against the National Defense Authorization Act because a controversial hate crimes provision was added to the bill, making it a tool for political opportunity, rather than a bill to lay out budget strategies and priorities for our military. Congressman Forbes was concerned with other issues in the defense bill, including the removal of concurrent receipt for veterans, and the refusal of the Administration to submit shipbuilding and aviation plans as required by law. Additionally, amendments Congressman Forbes supported to oppose dredging in Mayport and to allow localities to have a voice in the OLF decision were removed due to lack of support in the Senate. This legislation passed by a vote of 281-146.

Applauded strong measures within the annual defense bill.  Congressman Forbes applauded the following provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act: a 3.4% pay raise for the troops, $5 million for road improvements outside Fort Lee; $2.7 million for a state wide emergency response exercise to be conducted by VMASC, and a $35 million dollar increase in Impact Aid funding which goes to school districts that are affected by the Growth of the military in the area.

Met with the Tri-Cities Hospitality Coalition to discuss the current lodging proposal at Fort Lee. Congressman Forbes and Senators Webb and Warner wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Army on their behalf.  The comment period for the project was extended 30-days, and the response from the Army to the letter from Virginia delegation is available here.

Spoke on the House floor about DoD’s refusal to produce an annual shipbuilding plan. The Secretary of Defense is required by law to submit the plan to Congress on an annual basis, yet he has failed to do so this year. Failure to submit the annual plan is unprecedented.   

Supported equal treatment under the law.
Congressman Forbes wrote a letter to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, urging him to remove the controversial hate crimes legislation from the annual defense policy bill that typically enjoys broad, bipartisan support.

Called for DoD to Adhere to the Law.  Congressman Forbes spoke on the House floor on September 24 where he called upon the Secretary of Defense to produce the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan. The Secretary of Defense is required by law to submit the plan to Congress on an annual basis, yet he has failed to do so this year. Failure to submit the annual plan is unprecedented.  

Served as a House conferee for the 2010 defense policy bill. Congressman Forbes participated in a panel discussion with the leadership of other House Committees that may have policy matters in the bill.  The measure has passed both the House and Senate and is currently being reconciled into one version.  

Expressed concern and opposition to cuts for aircraft carriers.
Congressman Forbes joined 14 members of Congress in sending a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates to express opposition to further cuts in the U.S. aircraft carrier force. Recent leaks from the Pentagon suggest that the Department of Defense may be considering reducing the carrier force amidst budget constraints.  

Encouraged communities to support military families. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.Con. Res.170, which supports the goals and ideals of the Army Community Covenant. The Army Community Covenant was established on April 17, 2008, to recognize the role surrounding communities play in strengthening Army soldiers and their families. Congressman Forbes has been a strong supporter of the Army Covenant Program, joining with members of the Tri-cities to partner with Fort Lee in 2008.

Called for protecting military family voting rights. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 1182, to extend the same voting and residency protections provided to military members to service member spouses.   

Opposed funding for Mayport dredging.
  Congressman Forbes wrote a letter to the national defense policy bill conferees to oppose funding for dredging the Mayport, FL harbor, one of the first steps required to move a nuclear aircraft carrier from Norfolk, VA to Mayport, FL. The Navy has recently said that its decision to move a carrier has been postponed, pending conclusion of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Any effort to dredge in Mayport would be presumptive prior to release of the QDR.  

Offered amendment to fix Navy’s ship repair shortfall. Congressman Forbes offered a bipartisan amendment to the annual Defense Appropriations bill to increase funding for ship repair by $200 million.  This funding was one of the top concerns of the Navy. The amendment would remove $200 million from the research and development of the Presidential (VH-71) helicopter program and instead direct the funding towards the Navy’s ship repair account. The Navy has identified ship repair funds as its number two priority on a list of requests that did not get fully funded in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget.  The Rules Committee, which determines which amendments will be considered on the House floor, denied the amendment.

Discussed issues facing the U.S. shipyard industrial base. Congressman Forbes met with Matthew Paxton, President of the Shipbuilders Council, to discuss a wide range of issues including shipbuilder assistance and safety programs. Congressman Forbes reiterated the significant role of the shipbuilding industry and its important role in our economy.   

Met with the top Pentagon official for military installations and the environment.  Congressman Forbes and Dr. Dorothy Robyn discussed the Navy’s ongoing selection of an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) and the Navy’s proposal to move an aircraft carrier to Mayport, Florida.

Supported the 2010 Defense Funding Bill.  Congressman Forbes voted in support of H.R. 3326, the Department of Defense Appropriation Act, 2010, which funds the Department of Defense’s annual operations and programs.  This bill passed the House by a vote of 400-30.

Recognized the service of noncommissioned officers (NCOs) of the U.S. Army. Congressman Forbes cosponsored and supported H.J.Res. 44 to express appreciation for NCOs who serve or have served in defense of the United States.   

Requested an evaluation of the way the Department of Defense (DoD) utilized stimulus funds.  Congressmen Forbes and Congressman Solomon Ortiz, Ranking Member and Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office asking it to examine the means in which the DoD allocated over $12 billion dollars in stimulus funds.  Specifically, Rep. Forbes and Rep. Ortiz questioned how the DoD will use the stimulus funds to address unfunded requirements, how the funds will be used to increase the quality of life for military personnel, and how it will track and monitor the use of the stimulus funds.

Opposed relocation of National Guard Headquarters from Ft. Pickett. Congressman Forbes sent a letter to Governor Tim Kaine regarding plans to move the Headquarters to Sandston, Virginia. The House Armed Services Committee has expressed its concern that the funding for this construction project could be used to reduce the equipment backlog facing our National Guard.

Questioned the constitutional rights of enemy combatants. Congressman Forbes, a member of the House Armed Services Committee voted in committee for H.Res.602 requiring a report of how the reading of Miranda rights is applied to enemy combatants. This resolution questions how this procedure may impact post capture interrogations and intelligence gathering activities, and the overall counterinsurgency strategy.

Questioned senior Defense and Justice Officials on the plan to prosecute enemy combatants, including the co-conspirators of the 9/11 attacks.  Congressman Forbes, during a House Armed Services Committee hearing, shared his concerns with delaying the trial or hearing the cases in Federal Courts rather than Military Courts.

Opposed relocation of National Guard Headquarters from Ft. Pickett. Congressman Forbes met with General Newman and members of the Virginia National Guard to discuss his opposition to a plan that would move the Headquarters from Fort Picket to Sandston, Virginia. The House Armed Services Committee expressed its concern about the move in this year’s annual defense policy bill.

Supported increased funding for missile defense programs in the 2010 federal budget. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to leaders of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to express concerns about the lack of proper explanations for budget cuts for the Missile Defense Agency. The decrease in funding for these protective systems comes as the threats from Iranian and North Korean long range ballistic missiles to the American homeland has intensified.

Supported research and development of submarine programs.
 Congressman Forbes signed a letter to leaders of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee requesting that research of Strategic Sea-Based Deterrent (SSBN) submarines be maintained in the 2010 federal budget. For more than three decades the Ohio-class SSBN has served as the cornerstone of the nation’s strategic triads. Development efforts in 2010 will help provide a vital bridge to maintain our nation’s unique submarine engineering and design industrial base.

Received testimony on military commissions for prosecuting law of war violations. Congressman Forbes, during a House Armed Services Committee hearing, questioned Senior Military Lawyers on gathering information from suspected terrorist captured on the battlefield and the subsequent use in prosecution. The hearing was aimed to examine the Military Commissions Act of 2006, amid concerns that the due process clause of the Constitution would apply to the prosecution of suspected terrorists. 

Highlighted the importance of simulation and logistics to current military operations. Congressman Forbes spoke at the opening of the new Army Logistics University and Simulation Training Center at Fort Lee, Virginia. He spoke about the importance of modeling and simulation collaboration in pursuit of freedom around the world. The Army Logistics University is the premier lifelong learning center for the Army’s professional military, civilian, joint, interagency, multinational, and intergovernmental partners within the sustainment community.  

Protected child custody rights for members of the military. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for his continued interest and participation in a hearing regarding custody rights for military families. The annual defense policy bill contains protections for parental rights for military families.

Recognized the achievements of the United States Submarine Force. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H. Con Res. 129 to congratulate the sailors of the United States Submarine Force upon the completion of 1,000 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) deterrent patrols. The resolution honors and thanks the crews of such submarines and their families for their continued dedication and sacrifice.

Received testimony on the status of Army and Marine Corps reset requirements. Congressman Forbes, the Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, questioned how the Army and Marine Corps created the ongoing plan to reset the forces returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and if the plan would be adequately funded.

Supported the annual defense policy bill. Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 2647, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010. During the proceedings of the House Armed Services Committee markup of the bill a week earlier, Forbes successfully pushed for full funding for Army BRAC expansion and increased transportation and Impact Aid funding to help localities deal with BRAC-related growth as well as other provisions.

Specifically, Congressman Forbes:

  • Successfully worked for a $200 million addition to ship repair funding to cover one of the  Navy's 2010 Unfunded Requirements; 
  • Successfully added a Navy study the costs and impacts to the labor force that would result by the Navy’s proposal to extend aircraft carrier construction from four years to five years;
  • Supported an amendment to prohibit Mayport dredging before carrier homebasing is decided in the Quadrennial Defense Review;
  • Supported $18.1 million for Naval Station Norfolk as proposed in the President’s Budget;
  • Successfully increased by $20 million an account to assist the Navy and conservation groups in purchasing conservancy easements to prevent  encroachment that threaten military bases like OLF Fentress and NAS Oceana;
  • Supported full funding for a Virginia Class Submarine in addition to seven other ships;
  • Successfully added $5 million for a Defense Access Road project to alleviate traffic congestion outside Fort Lee, Virginia;
  • Supported the $4 billion in funding needed to complete Army BRAC 2005 and expand Fort Lee, VA;
  • Successfully increased funding by $9 million to assist local small businesses compete for DoD contracts, including those near Fort Lee, VA; and
  • Supported language included by the House Armed Services Committee urging the Virginia Army National Guard to reconsider its decision to move its headquarters at Fort Pickett, Virginia to Sandston, Virginia;  

In addition, Congressman Forbes personally worked for a $65 million increase for Impact Aid, which provides funding for school districts impacted by military families and he supported a 3.4% pay raise for active duty military families, which was 0.5% higher than the pay raise requested in the President’s Budget. 

Sought to increase transparency in the Administration’s defense budget process. Congressman Forbes sought to amend H.R.2647, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010, by requiring a report from the Secretary of Defense every time senior defense officials are barred from discussing budget or strategy information with Members of Congress and others. However, the amendment did not receive the necessary votes for passage.

Sought to fully restore funding for our troops. The amendment to the annual defense policy bill, H.R. 2647, fully restored funding for our troops and also sought to restore missile defense by $1.2 billion to last year’s spending levels following Iran and North Korea’s continued efforts in building ballistic missiles and nuclear programs.  The troop funding had been removed by the Senate to pay for a bailout to the International Monetary Fund. 

Signed a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates urging the review of procurement of protective military materials. Congressman Forbes spearheaded a letter to Secretary Gates to evaluate the exemption clause in the Berry Amendment, which allows the Department of Defense to obtain body armor and fire-resistant uniform materials necessary for troop safety from foreign sources. The exemption has resulted in domestic manufactures losing business to their foreign counterparts.

Recognized the importance of defense testing, training and acquisition. Congressman Forbes spoke to members of The International Test and Evaluation Association (ITEA), an educational organization founded to further the exchange of technical information in the field of test and evaluation. Congressman Forbes addressed the importance of modeling and simulation as a force multiplier, but recognized its inability to replace actual test and evaluation.

Supported the annual defense policy bill in committee. Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 2647, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 during the House Armed Services Committee markup of the bill. During the proceedings, Forbes successfully pushed for full funding for Army BRAC expansion and increased transportation and Impact Aid funding to help localities deal with BRAC-related growth as well as other provisions.    

Specifically, Congressman Forbes:

  • Worked for a $200 million addition to ship repair funding to cover half of the Navy's 2010 Unfunded Requirements; 
  • Introduced an amendment, which passed, to study cost impacts of stretching aircraft carrier construction from four years to five years;
  •  Supported an amendment to prohibit Mayport dredging before carrier homebasing is decided in the Quadrennial Defense Review;
  • Supported $18.1 million for Naval Station Norfolk as proposed in the President’s Budget;
  • Worked for a $20 million funding increase for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative to assist the Department in purchasing conservancy easements to protect encroachment that could threaten the longevity of OLF Fentress or NAS Oceana;
  • Supported full funding for a Virginia Class Submarine in addition to seven other ships;
  • Worked for $5 million for a Defense Access Road project to alleviate traffic congestion outside Fort Lee, Virginia;
  • Supported the $4 billion in funding needed to complete Army BRAC 2005 and expanding growth at Fort Lee, VA;
  • Increased funding by $9 million for the Procurement Technical Assistance Program to assist local small businesses compete for DoD contracts, including those near Fort Lee, VA; and
  • Worked to include language urging the Virginia Army National Guard to keep its headquarters at Fort Pickett, Virginia; 

Congressman Forbes also supported a provision that would provide funding for concurrent receipt, elimination of the SBP/DIC offset, and authorization of TRICARE coverage for Reserve Component retirees under the age of 60 upon receipt of retired pay, commonly referred to as the "gray area." In addition, Forbes personally worked for a $65 million increase for Impact Aid, which provides funding for schools impacted by BRAC and he supported a 3.4% pay raise for active duty military families, which was 0.5% higher than the President requested

Sought to prevent the transfer or release of detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay prison into the United States.
 Congressman Forbes introduced two amendments during the House Armed Services Committee consideration of the annual defense policy bill. The first amendment would have prohibited the use of funds to transfer individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to any facility or location in the United States. A second amendment would have required the President to meet strict criteria and certification standards before terrorists housed at the Guantanamo prison could be brought to the United States. The second measure included a pre-approval requirement by a governor and state legislature prior to the transfer or release of any terrorist detainee into their state. Both amendments were amended, and the final bill text requires the President to notify the governor and legislature of the transfer of detainees, but does not require their consent. 

Introduced an amendment to increase transparency at the Department of Defense. Congressman Forbes’ offered the amendment at the House Armed Services Committee consideration of the annual defense policy bill. It states that any member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff may submit advice or opinion to the Congress in addition to, or in disagreement with, the advice presented by the Chairman or the Secretary of Defense. The amendment is aimed at reducing the Administration's recent trend towards muting the independent advice from Pentagon officials to Members of Congress, especially in regards to the FY2010 budget process and the military services’ budget priorities. The amendment was adopted by the Committee.  

Stressed the importance of the military services' maintenance depots.
The military service's maintenance depots provide repair and manufacturing capabilities necessary to sustaining a ready military. Congressman Forbes signed a joint letter to the Comptroller General, the director of the Government Accountability Office, emphasizing the critical role depots play in ongoing military operations. Effective strategic plans can help ensure that depots are resourced to meet future maintenance requirements. 

Compelled the Department of Defense to produce an annual shipbuilding report. Congressman Forbes and seven Members of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) introduced H. Res.477, directing the Administration to provide Congress with the 30-year shipbuilding plan. This resolution was in response to the testimony of Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead before HASC on May 14 of this year, where he stated that the Navy would not submit a congressionally-mandated 30-year shipbuilding report with its fiscal year 2010 budget request as it was required to do by law. On Tuesday, June 16, the resolution was successfully adopted during HASC consideration of the annual defense policy bill.

Condemned the murder of Army Private William Long and the wounding of Army Private Quinton Ezeagwula. Both were shot outside of a Army Navy Career Center. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res.515, urging that the perpetrator of the senseless shooting be brought to justice.   

Awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots. Congressman Forbes voted for S. 614 to make appropriate arrangements for the award of a single gold medal in honor of the Women Airforce Service Pilots collectively, in honor of their pioneering military service and exemplary record, which forged revolutionary reform in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Questioned senior defense officials on moving an aircraft carrier to Mayport, Florida. Congressman Forbes Served as Ranking Member for a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the 2010 Military Construction Budget, where he questioned senior officials on the postponed decision to base an aircraft carrier in Mayport, Florida and the risk analysis associated with this costly relocation.  The Department has postponed the decision until the completion of the Quadrennial Defense Review, a strategic assessment of the military focusing on the alignment with national strategy.   

Expressed sympathies to the families of the victims of violence at Camp Liberty, Iraq, on May 11, 2009. Congressman Forbes supported H. Res. 471, which also reiterated the nation’s commitment to the mental and physical heath of our Armed Forces.  

Honored the men and women in the Intelligence Community. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H. Res. 497, which honors the brave men and women of the intelligence community of the United States for their tireless and selfless work to protect America.  

Supported increased funding for schools impacted by BRAC.
Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 2593, which would offers grants to public schools affected by military base growth. 2005 BRAC initiatives are expected to bring over 30,000 additional military students into public school systems nationwide, including public schools systems surrounding Fort Lee, Virginia.

Introduced H. Res. 477 directing the Obama Administration to provide Congress with the 30-year shipbuilding plan. Pentagon officials have said they do not intend to submit this plan this year even though it is required by U.S. law. The 30-year shipbuilding plan was intended to provide Congress and the American people with the long-range maritime strategy for our country.  The plan also requires the Secretary of Defense to certify that the plan can be met given this year’s proposed federal budget.

Introduced H. Res. 478, requiring the Obama Administration to submit the 30-year military aviation plan to Congress. Pentagon officials have said they do not intend to submit this plan this year even though it is required by U.S. law. 

Served as Ranking Member for a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the Operations and Maintenance portion of the budget. Congressman Forbes asked each of the Service’s Vice Chief their priorities, unfunded requirements and the risk associated with each. 

Served as a conferee for the House-Senate Conference on H.R. 2101 and S. 454, the Weapons Acquisition Reform Act. The conferees resolved the differences in these acquisition reform bills. Congressman Forbes voted for the conference report on S. 454,  which reforms the Department of Defense’ s purchase program to improve efficiency and oversight in the purchasing of DoDs most costly weapons systems. This improvement efficiency and oversight has the potential to improve the quality of these systems and reduce cost overruns. The President signed this bill into law on May 21, 2009.

Supported affordable financing for shipbuilding in the U.S. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to the House Appropriations Committee in support of funding for the Maritime Administration’s Title XI Ship Loan Guarantee Program. Funding this program is essential to ensure U.S. ship owners have access to affordable financing to build ships in the U.S. to meet America’s domestic commercial, energy and military sea lift needs.  

Attended a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Air Force 2010 budget proposal.   

Provided funding for Armed Forces War Time operations.
Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 2346 which continues to support our Armed Forces in ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. House Democrats and Republicans worked together to strip funding to close Guantanamo Bay from the bill.

Continued to call for increased transparency within the Department of Defense (DoD) during a House Armed Services Committee hearing featuring Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. As a follow-up to the letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Congressman Forbes raised concerns over the lack of transparency in the Pentagon’s budget. Earlier this year, senior defense officials were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement and the Navy has recently classified its ship readiness reports.  

Questioned the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead about the lack of a shipbuilding plan in the budget submission during a House Armed Services Committee Department of the Navy budget hearing. The 30-year shipbuilding plan details the Navy’s long-term force structure plan which has significant ramifications for ship repair.  

Supported improved efficiency in the U.S. weapons buying process. Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 2101,  which would reform the Department of Defense’ s purchase program to improve efficiency and oversight in the purchasing of DoDs most costly weapons systems. These improvements have the potential to significantly enhance the quality of these systems and reduce cost overruns. 

Worked to increase funding for ship repair. Congressman Forbes proposed an amendment to the FY 2009 War Time Supplemental, H.R. 2346, which would have increased funding to meet the Navy’s ship repair shortfall for 2009. The proposed amendment was rejected by the House Rules Committee.

Met with Admiral Walsh, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations on readiness issues.   Congressman Forbes shared his concerns for the funding level of ship maintenance and repair in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget.  

Met with General Fraser, the Vice Chief of the Air Force. Congressman Forbes and General Fraser discussed the state of readiness within the Air Force.

Recognized the dedicated service of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, United States Army during World War II.   Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 347 which awarded a Congressional Gold Medal to these heroes.  

Honored recipients of the Medal of Honor.
  Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 1209, which honors American military men and women who have received the Medal of Honor.  The bill also promotes awareness of what the Medal of Honor represents – through courage, sacrifice, selfless service and patriotism, can challenge fate and change the course of history.

Called for increased transparency within the Department of Defense (DoD). Congressman Forbes and other senior members of the House Armed Services Committee sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates encouraging the Pentagon to increase transparency in reporting on readiness and the defense budget process. Earlier this year, in what the Washington Post described as “unprecedented secrecy,” the Pentagon asked senior defense officials to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, which would require them to keep defense budget deliberations secret. Additionally, the DoD announced that it will classify routine reports on ship readiness. Congressman Forbes and other Members of Congress noted that this would severely and unnecessarily limit Congress in its Constitutional duties. 

Presented Rose Tuazon, a Gold Star Mother, with an Honor and Remember flag. Mrs. Tuazon lost her son, Private First Class Andrew Tuazon, in Iraq May 10, 2004. Andrew was a recipient of the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, and Good Conduct Ribbon.

Improve efficiency in the U.S. weapons buying process. Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 2101,  which would reform the Department of Defense’ s purchase program to improve efficiency and oversight in the purchasing of DoDs most costly weapons systems. This improvement efficiency and oversight has the potential to improve the quality of these systems and reduce cost overruns.

Met with the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead. During the meeting, Congressman Forbes discussed his concerns over an Outlying Landing Field (OLF), his opposition to moving an aircraft carrier to Mayport, Florida and his concern about the adequacy of ship repair funding for the Navy’s surface fleet. 

Called for increased funding for ship repair.  Congressman Forbes signed a letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense encouraging increased funding in the war-time supplemental for ship repair. A bipartisan group of Congressmen joined together to seek additional funding for Navy ship repair due to a shortfall. This funding will improve the readiness of the force and better support operational training of ships, airplanes and submarines and the men and women who operate them.  

Served as Ranking Member for a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the Army and Marine Corps preparedness. The hearing focused on the current state of the military’s ground forces.   

Recognized the exemplary service of the members of the United States Armed Forces.  Congressman Forbes cosponsored H. Res. 377 commemorating Armed Forces Day, which will be celebrated on May 16th this year.   

Honored the military achievements from the D-Day Invasion. Congressman Forbes cosponsored
H. Res. 259, recognizing the heroic action of the D-Day Invasion at Normandy. June 6, 1944, was one our Nation’s proudest days and had a significant impact on the outcome of World War II.  

Supported reforming the Defense Departments purchasing program. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 2101, bipartisan legislation crafted by the leadership of the House Armed Services Committee to ensure efficiency and oversight in the procurement of the most costly weapons systems. 

Awarded the U.S. Army’s highest civilian honor. Congressman Forbes was presented the Distinguished Civilian Service Award for his support of Fort Lee and his contribution to the advancement of the U.S. Army.  Maj. Gen. James E. Chambers presented the award to Forbes at the Civilian Military Council Luncheon at Fort Lee on Monday, April 20th. 

Reviewed the BRAC progress at Fort Lee, Virginia. Congressman Forbes met with the Commanding General of Fort Lee, General Chambers, to review the building plans and progress at Fort Lee. Fort Lee will grow by 37% as a result of the 2005 BRAC round and construction is scheduled to be complete in September 2011.  

Served as Ranking Member for a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the Defense Department’s air response program.  The hearing focused on the funding allocated to the program that protects airspace over the United States.  Congressman Forbes closed the hearing by challenging the Department of Defense to make sure the Nation’s defense strategy was shaping the budget and not shaping a strategy to fit a budget. 

Discussed a lodging plan for Fort Lee, Virginia. Congressman Forbes met with the Assistant Secretary for Installations & Environment Keith Eastin to develop a lodging plan at Fort Lee, Virginia.  The population of Fort Lee will grow by 37% as a result of the 2005 BRAC round, which will temporarily put pressure on the available lodging space on Fort Lee.  

Attended a hearing on the Defense Department pay system. Congressman Forbes served as Ranking Member for a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Defense’s pay-for-performance plan. The plan, which would tie employee compensation with individual performance, has been plagued by inconsistent implementation. The hearing focused primarily on whether the system should be retained, modified or disbanded to most effectively compensate government employees so that taxpayers receive the most value for their tax dollars. Congressman Forbes supports President Obama’s call for a comprehensive review of the pay-for-performance plan to determine what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and what improvements would need to be made.

Served as
Ranking Member for a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on Navy ship repair shortfalls. Congressman Forbes requested this hearing, and he questioned the Navy on the $417 million shortfall the Navy has for repairs to its surface fleet, and the implications that has for the service life of each ship. He also voiced his concern over the classification of the Navy’s inspection process. The Navy recently classified the results of its ship inspections so that it is more difficult to determine the preparedness of our naval fleet. Congressman Forbes believes we should not wait until ship repairs are needed to find out ship inspection results. 

Attended a House Armed Services Committee hearing with the military commanders of the Pacific Region, European Region and the Korean Peninsula. Congressman Forbes questioned the Pacific Commander as to whether he is concerned about the Chinese threat in terms of antiship/carrier weapons in light of the current budgetary crisis and the considerable debt associated with the bailout and stimulus plans.  

Served as a panelist at the U.S. Army Women’s Foundation Annual Symposium.  Congressman Forbes thanked the soldiers for their military service, and in particular, the pioneering women who served in the Army for their sacrifice and commitment to defending freedom and democracy.  

Signed a joint letter to the President encouraging him to nominate a Director of Energy Plans and Policy at DoD. The FY09 National Defense Authorization Act required the President to appoint someone to this position to more effectively manage energy consumption by the military’s operational force. Congressman Forbes believes this assignment and the subsequent development of an energy plan, as well as oversight, would ensure the military is making the most of its funding and resources in terms of supporting the operational force’s energy requirements.  

Was interviewed by Aviation Week & Space and Technology about missile defense and modeling and simulation.  Congressman Forbes discussed the importance of incorporating modeling and simulation into real missile defense tests to maximize the capability of our missile defense system.

Visited Wounded Warriors at Bethesda Naval Hospital.
 Congressman Forbes met with wounded warriors and their families and inspected the quality of the care at their facility at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Fort Belvoir’ hospital.  

Signed a letter to the Government Accounting Office asking them to review Navy ship manning and training and its impact on readiness. The Navy has reduced manning and revised their training even as deployments continue on an ongoing basis. This tempo seems to have negatively impacted readiness. Congressman Forbes called for a hearing on Navy Readiness of our surface fleet in the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, which will be held this week, where he serves as ranking member on the Subcommittee.  

Introduced H.R. 1638 to prohibit Guantanamo Bay detainees from being transferred to facilities or locations in Virginia. The new bill modifies previous legislation (H.R. 1186) to encompass both federal and state localities. The new Administration continues to plan for the closure of the detention center at Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, even after the Attorney General provided assurances that the detention center met all Geneva Convention standards and called the facility “well run now.” Congressman Forbes remains committed to ensuring these enemy combatants are not relocated to Virginia in any capacity – state or federal.   

Signed a letter opposing a home port shift of an Aircraft Carrier to Mayport, Florida.   Congressman Nye and Congressman Forbes crafted a letter in opposition to the homeport shift of a CVN citing this move as wasteful spending especially in a time where the Navy has claimed limited resources to meet its missions.  The intention of this letter is to make sure the costs associated with this move are considered when developing and executing the FY10 budget.  

Served as Ranking Member for a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on expanding the Army and Marine Corps.   Congressman Forbes noted in his opening statement that this initiative needs to ensure our Soldiers and Marines are supported logistically as the force grows, and that serviceman and women should never return home to dilapidated housing.  

Addressed the National Ship Repair Industry Conference on the charge given to Congress by our Founding Fathers to raise and support Armies and Navies.  He discussed this mandate in the context of the massive deficit spending stemming from the TARP/Housing bailouts under the Bush Administration and the Economic Stimulus during the Obama Administration.  

Voted in favor of H.Con. Res. 64, which urges the President to designate 2009 as the Year of the Military Family.  Congressman Forbes was a cosponsor of this resolution.  

Signed a letter in support of basing the new Air Force Cyber Warfare unit in Hampton Roads.   The close proximity of NETWARCOM and JFCOM, as well as a strong presence of all of the services make Langley and Virginia an ideal choice.

Cosponsored
H. Con. Res. 64 to urge the President to designate 2009 as the year of the military family.  This legislation expresses sincere appreciation to the families of members of the Armed Forces who serve or have served in defense of the United States.  It also recognizes the contributions that military families make, and encourages the people of the United States to share in appreciation for the sacrifices of military families. 

Met with Mr. Wayne Arny, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment, who overseas military installations world wide.  During the meeting, Congressman Forbes expressed his concern over the Navy’s Outlaying Landing Field (OLF) and continued to convey his stance that the OLF should only be constructed with community support.   

Met with Mr. George Lutz, founder of the Honor and Remember Flag.  Congressman Forbes thanked Mr. Lutz for his efforts to champion this cause.  He also expressed his deep appreciation for those who serve in our military and especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Congressman Forbes has introduced H.R.1034, which would recognize the Honor and Remember Flag as an official national symbol and tribute to those members of the Armed Forces who lost their lives while serving our nation.   

Addressed the Submarine Industrial Base Coalition.  During the breakfast join-up, Congressman Forbes discussed the shortcomings of the current spending bills/ bailouts and the potential impact on future defense bills. 

Served as Ranking Member for a
 House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on acquisition of real estate for military training.  Congressman Forbes noted in his opening statement that the military should only resort to forcefully taking private property as an absolute last resort.  He questioned Navy officials on where the proposed Outlying Landing Field fits into the priorities for the Navy budget given the economic downturn, the Navy’s aging strike aircraft fleet, deferred ship maintenance, and a shipbuilding budget that is inadequate to build a 313-ship Navy. 

Introduced H.R. 1034, to designate the Honor and Remember Flag as an official symbol to recognize and honor members of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty.  This flag was created by George Lutz of Chesapeake, VA to honor the fallen, which includes his son who was killed in action in Iraq.

Introduced H.R. 1186, to prohibit the use of funds to transfer individuals detained at Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, to facilities in Virginia.  The new Administration’s own review concluded that detainees at the prison met all Geneva Convention standards, and the new Attorney General, Eric Holder, recently traveled to Guantanamo Bay and stated that the prison is well-run now.  However, the Administration recently announced plans to close the detention center at Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  The military prisons at Quantico, Virginia and the Naval Brig in Norfolk, VA, which will move to Chesapeake, VA over the next two years, have been cited as two locations with the capacity to hold such prisoners.  

Met with Vice Admiral Kevin McCoy, Commander of Naval Sea Systems Command, who oversees readiness for Navy ships and submarines.   During the meeting, Congressman Forbes expressed his concern that the Navy would not reach 313 ships unless the Navy invested enough in ship maintenance so that ships lasted their designed length.  He also asked Admiral McCoy about the recent freeze on ship repair contracts for the rest of fiscal year 2009.  In 2008, Congressman Forbes successfully added $120 million to cover the Navy’s ship repair shortfall in the annual defense policy bill, but the Senate rejected the change. 

Attended a hearing on Afghanistan and Iraq and the possible strategies for the future.
   The panel headed by top academics as well as a former Army General speculated on the impact of resetting the force from Iraq to Afghanistan.  Congressman Forbes’ concerns include the potential cut to the defense budget and the impact on our efforts overseas because of the excessive stimulus package that is getting ready to be sent to the President.    

Co-chaired testimony for the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee from the Army on training the force.  The Army is shifting their training to focus on specific skill sets in an effort to standardize training force-wide.  This shift will better prepare the Army for the multiple types of operations – offensive, defensive, stability, and various levels of conflict from peace time military engagements through major combat operations. 

Appointed as the
Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Readinesss Subcommittee. Congressman Forbes served as Ranking Member during 2008 as well. The subcommittee oversees 30% of the Department of Defense’s budget authority, the Base Realignment and Closure process, and military readiness, specifically training, logistics and maintenance, such as ship repair. The subcommittee also approves most military construction projects and oversees shipyard issues and civilian personnel policy within DOD.   

Appointed to the House Armed Services Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee. This subcommittee focuses on Navy and Marine Corps acquisition programs, including the Navy’s goal for a 313-ship Navy, the Virginia Class Submarine program, and F/A-18 fighter aircraft. 

Questioned Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on the Navy’s decision to relocate a nuclear aircraft carrier from Norfolk, VA to Mayport, FL during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on priorities within the Department of Defense.  Congressman Forbes asked Secretary Gates if he was aware of how small the claimed strategic risk is that was identified by the Navy for this decision. Secretary Gates defended the Navy’s analysis, but said that the new Administration and the new Secretary of the Navy would review the decision.

Questioned members of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. The bipartisan panel reported last year that without more effective international action, it was likely a terrorist would use a weapon of mass destruction somewhere in the world in the next five years. The panel consisted of former Senators Bob Graham and Jim Talent, and Harvard University political scientist Graham Allison. In response to questioning from Congressman Forbes, the panelists indicated that the five year marker was not based on specific intelligence, but rather a reflection of the time-sensitivity of the threat.

Selected as
 House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Ranking Member.  As the top Republican on the Readiness Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes oversees more than 30% of the military budget authority, military construction, Base Realignment and Closure, and logistics, training, and maintenance issues. To read more about Congressman Forbes' role on the Readiness Subcommittee, click here.

Drafted a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates encouraging him to delay any decision to base a nuclear aircraft carrier at Mayport, Florida until the next Administration takes office. The letter was signed by each Member of the Virginia delegation in the House of Representatives. The Navy is expected to announce its decision on or after December 21, 2008. 

Wrote an op-ed in the Richmond-Times Dispatch outlining the reasoning behind his opposition to the Navy’s proposal to base a nuclear aircraft carrier at Mayport, Florida.

Voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act and the Fiscal Year 2009 Continuing Resolution, which will authorize and fund the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security for FY2009. Congressman Forbes releases the following statement after passage of these bills: “These critical pieces of legislation contained several strong provisions that will bolster our military readiness and maintain a high standard of living for our troops and their families. I am eager for these bills to be signed into law to help protect our homeland and provide critical resources for our troops at home and abroad.”  Provisions included in the bills that may be of interest to the Fourth Congressional District include.

  • 100% authorization of the required funding for the implementation of the Base Realignment and Closure Round 2005. Fort Lee will double in size as a result of the BRAC 2005 round, and more than $200 million in new construction authorized for FY2009.
  • $250,000 for the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Chesterfield County, Virginia. The function of the EOC is to provide information to public safety providers and citizens on a range of items to include criminal activity, terrorist activity or natural disasters.
  • $10.6 million for dining facilities at Fort Lee.
  • $2.95 million for a Multipurpose Machine Gun Range at Fort Pickett, Virginia.
  • $90 million for barracks at Fort Lee.

In addition, the bills included some general provisions to assist military service members and their families that would:

  • Authorize funding for a 3.9% pay raise for active duty military personnel to reduce the pay gap between the military and private sector pay to 2.9%. 
  • Prohibit increases in both TRICARE and pharmacy user fees, which would prevent over $1.2 billion in healthcare costs from being passed on to service members.
  • Establish a tuition assistance program for eligible military spouses, authorizing a career intermission pilot program, and creating new preventive health care initiatives.

Signed a letter to General David Petreaus, thanking him for his service as Commander, Multi-National Forces-Iraq, and congratulating him for his selection as Commander, U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Signed letters to Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging her to bring H.R. 5673, the Military Voting Protection Act of 2008, to the House floor for a vote, which would modernize the overseas/absentee ballot system which is too cumbersome and inefficient to allow many men and women in uniform to vote. Congressman Forbes believes that we owe it to every Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, and Marine to ensure they are afforded the right to vote like every other American of appropriate qualification. According to the Elections Assistance Commission, only 5.5% of eligible overseas and absentee voters in uniform had their votes counted in the 2006 mid-term election. 

Commended the Air Force for its decision to take disciplinary action against Air Force officers connected to nuclear deficiencies on September 25, 2008. The decision follows an instance where nuclear warheads were flown from Minot AFB, North Dakota to Louisiana without approval. Congressman Forbes stated, "Today, the Air Force took tough disciplinary action in response to Admiral Donald's investigation. I am grateful for the service and sacrifice of these men and women to our nation, and I also commend the Air Force for demonstrating its commitment to safeguarding our nuclear arsenal by holding accountable those who were in charge during these missteps."

Met with Army Lieutenant General Mitch Stevenson, former commander at Fort Lee, VA,
and the newly appointed top logistics officer for the Army Chief of Staff.  During the meeting, they discussed the modernization of Army logistics and the ongoing BRAC efforts at Fort Lee, VA and other installations.  

Met with Air Force Brigadier General A.J. Stewart, head of the Air Force Recruiting Service. General Stewart is from Dinwiddie, Virginia in the Fourth Congressional District.  They discussed the successes and challenges the Air Force has had in its recruiting efforts, including the fact that the military can face challenges in recruitment because a majority of the 18-25 year old citizens do not meet all the physical, medical, education, or moral requirements for military service without a waiver.

Signed a letter thanking General David Petreaus for his leadership over the last year in Iraq as commanding general of U.S. forces in Iraq. Under General Petreaus’s leadership, violence in Iraq declined by 80% and the number of wounded decreased as well.   

Supported H. Res. 1200, to honor the work of the many military support groups, for their steadfast support of members of the Armed Forces and their families.

Supported H. Res. 1255, which honors Toby Keith for his commitment to members of the Armed Forces. The country singer has made six USO tours around the world, performing in such locations as Cuba, Germany, Belgium, Kosovo, Italy, and Africa.  He has entertained more than 135,000 members of the Armed Forces in Middle East Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, including one concert in Afghanistan that was interrupted by mortar fire.

Supported
H. Con Res. 390, which honors the 28th Infantry Division for serving and protecting the United States. 

Cosponsored
H. Con. Res. 388, to express that the Federal Voting Assistance Program should make sure that members of the Armed Forces and their dependents have information on how to register to vote and absentee voting procedures for the 2008 general elections.

Cosponsored H. Res. 1364, to recognize those who are serving or have served in the airborne forces of the Armed Forces.

Authored a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee to thank them for including a provision that would put into statute the teaming arrangement on the construction of the Virginia Class Submarines between Northrop Grumman Newport News and General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, CT. The Virginia Class Submarine program is one of the few defense acquisition programs that has delivered ships to the Navy earlier than expected, and at a smaller cost than promised.  Congressman Forbes cosponsored an amendment to accelerate the production of two submarines per year to 2010 from 2012.  That provision is currently being considered in the Senate.

Signed a letter to the General Accountability Office, requesting that officials investigate the opportunity for alternative energy projects to be conducted on military installations to reduce our dependence on traditional energy sources. As Ranking Member of the Readiness Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes oversees energy issues for the Department of Defense, which accounts for more than 70% of all the energy used by the federal government.

Cosponsored
H. Res. 1421 to honor the sacrifice of those who lost their lives 25 years ago in the October 1982 bombing of a Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.

Supported House passage of
H. R. 5959, the Fiscal Year 2009 Intelligence Authorization Act, which outlines funding levels for the 16 federal intelligence agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency.  In addition to authorizing funding, the bill requires a report demonstrating that the intelligence agencies are treating prisoners in accordance with the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which prohibits "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" of detainees by any person.  The bill requires increased reporting requirements to the congressional intelligence oversight committees related to government intelligence activities around the world.  The bill also authorizes expanded human intelligence activities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Signed a letter to Deputy Secretary of Defense, The Honorable Gordon England, requesting information on the Defense Department’s transformation efforts to meet 21st Century challenges.  Specifically, the letters request information on efforts to expand foreign language training, address asymmetric warfare, and identify energy solutions.  Congressman Forbes, who serves as the Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, personally requested that the Department publically release its plan to address energy issues.

Supported House passage of H. Res. 1080, which honors the service and sacrifice of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), known as the Screaming Eagles.

Supported House passage of H. Con. Res. 297, which recognizes the 60th anniversary of the integration of the United States Armed Forces.

Voted in favor of H.Res. 1202, which supports the goals and ideals of a National Guard Youth Challenge Day to recognize the success of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program.  The National Guard Youth Challenge Program is a preventative program for at-risk youth between the ages of 16 and 18 that have recently dropped out of high school.  This program was established by Congress in 1993 and currently operates in 29 states, focusing on GED attainment and job skills.  It is estimated that 1.2 million American youth drop out of high school annually.  Approximately 30 percent of these dropouts are unemployed and about 24 percent receive welfare.  In addition, high school dropouts make up 67 percent of the prison population in the United States.

Voted in favor of H.R. 6559, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Fiscal Year 2009 spending bill. The bill provides $12 billion for military construction, which is 18% higher than last year. The measure also included $9.5 billion for the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Round. Congressman Forbes is the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, which authorizes each military construction project. For the Fourth District, the measure included:

  • $218 million in new construction at Fort Lee, VA., for the implementation of the BRAC Round 2005. Fort Lee, VA., will double in size as a result of the BRAC 2005 round. The bill included 100% of the required funding for Fiscal Year 2009.
  • $90 million for new training barracks at Fort Lee, VA;
  • $33 million for a Joint Regional Correctional Facility in Chesapeake, VA;
  • $11 million for dining facilities at Fort Lee, VA;
  • $3 million for a Multipurpose Machine Gun Range at Fort Pickett, VA; and
  • $10 million for a new gate entrance at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, VA to ease traffic congestion and provide access during heightened threat condition. The project includes a new turn lane off George Washington Highway to the Shipyard, a new pass office, security gate, a vehicle inspection area, and a guard house.  An average of 12,000 vehicles enters the Shipyard each day. This project was included at the request of Rep. Forbes.

Held a classified meeting with General Kevin Chilton, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command.   As the head of Strategic Command, General Chilton has the responsibility of ensuring the security of the military’s computer networks and space satellites.  Congressman Forbes held the meeting in response to ongoing reports that China is focusing espionage efforts on the Department of Defense computer systems.  The Pentagon’s Annual Military Report on China also indicates that China is developing capabilities to jam, disrupt, and destroy navigation and communications satellites.

Participated in a House Armed Services Committee hearing on recent Security Developments in China.  Congressman Forbes questioned both witnesses about whether the United States was prepared to counter the growing asymmetric capabilities that China has developed over the last few years.  These new capabilities include advanced tracking of naval ships and submarines, anti-satellite technology, and increased efforts to infiltrate computer networks.  Congressman Forbes also noted that the classified information related to China makes it difficult to raise awareness to some of the most concerning issues, such as cyber espionage.

Praised the nomination of the first woman military officer in history for promotion to four-star general, former Fort Lee commander, Army Lieutenant General Ann E. Dunwoody.  Congressman Forbes said, “Anne is someone I consider a friend of mine, a friend of Fort Lee, and most importantly, she is a dedicated soldier and a first-rate military professional.  It does not surprise me that Gen. Dunwoody will be the first woman to reach this remarkable milestone, and I look forward to continuing to work with her to ensure our soldiers have the supplies and equipment they need to accomplish their mission.”  Dunwoody was nominated to be the commander of Army Materiel Command, which oversees Army logistics and acquisitions.  As the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, Congressman Forbes provides oversight of the military’s logistics, maintenance and equipment needs.

Supported Amendment #1 to H.R. 2642, the Supplemental Appropriations Bill of 2008.  This bill provides funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through June 2009.  The bill includes $210 million for day care centers on military posts across the country, including one at Fort Lee, Virginia.  The measure also provides the remaining funding to complete the Fiscal Year 2008 Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) construction.  More than $400 million of construction is ongoing or planned at Fort Lee, Virginia as a result of the 2005 BRAC round.  The bill also includes $200 million in new barracks for soldiers and Marines that was authorized by the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee; Congressman Forbes serves as the Ranking Member of that Subcommittee.

Wrote a letter to President Bush to caution the Administration on signing any agreement with the Iraqi government that would require U.S. troops to seek permission from the Iraqi government to accomplish their mission.  Congressman Forbes also recommended that the Administration be prepared to leave Iraq in case the Iraqis refuse to sign a new legal mandate for the presence of U.S. troops, or in case they refuse to provide full legal protections for U.S. troops to defend themselves and accomplish their mission.  The current legal authority for U.S. troops expires on December 31, 2008.


Joined in sending a bipartisan
letter to the House Appropriations Committee requesting they follow the lead of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) to accelerate the number of submarines the Navy will purchase in 2010 and 2011 from one submarine to two submarines.  Congressman Forbes and other members of the HASC offered a series of amendments to increase the number of submarines in the annual defense policy bill.  The Navy is expected to face a shortfall in its requirement of 48 submarines as the older Los Angeles class submarines are retired and replaced by the new Virginia Class Submarines.  Currently, the number of submarines deployed can meet about 65% of the needs of the military commanders requests made from around the world.  Submarines are built exclusively in Groton, Connecticut, and Newport News, Virginia.

Met with Michele Flournoy, President of the Center for a New American Security, to discuss the ongoing readiness and personnel challenges faced by our military and opportunities to address them in the future.

Cosponsored H.R. 6026, the Clean Global War on Terror Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2008.   H.R. 6026 would provide $178 billion in total spending for our men and women in uniform who are serving in harm’s way.  The bill does not contain any additional domestic spending or restrictive policy provisions.  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has indicated that the account to pay Army personnel will run out near June 15, 2008, without additional funding.

Voted to support H.R. 5658, the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of 2009 during floor consideration of the annual defense policy bill.  After 57 amendments were considered, the bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 384 to 23.  The bill includes support for military readiness, military families, the base realignment and closure process for 2005, and the Navy and shipbuilding and repair: 

Support for Military Readiness

  • An additional $2.6 billion to field Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP) to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Authorizes an increase of 13,450 military personnel in 2009 to increase end-strength and increase the time soldiers spend at home between tours of duty.
  • $2 billion toward unfunded readiness initiatives requested by the services.
  • $11 billion for equipment reset requirements.
  • $500 million to fix recently discovered shortfalls in military barracks.
  • A requirement for the Pentagon to study joint logistics organization.  The Virginia Fourth Congressional District is home to Army Logistics at Fort Lee, Va., and also U.S. Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, Va., which is responsible to make sure deployed forces are properly equipped and manned.

 Support for Military Families and Veterans

  • Funding for a 3.9% pay raise for active duty military personnel to reduce the pay gap between the military and private sector pay to 2.9%.
  • Prohibit increases in both TRICARE and pharmacy user fees, which would prevent more than $1.2 billion in healthcare costs from being passed on to service members.
  • Increased funding for family support programs by $15 million.
  • Establishes a tuition assistance program for eligible military spouses, authorizing a career intermission pilot program, and creating new preventive health care initiatives.

 Implementing Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and New Construction

  • $218 million in new construction at Fort Lee, Va., for the implementation of the BRAC Round 2005.  Fort Lee, Va., will double in size as a result of the BRAC 2005 round. The bill included 100% of the required funding for Fiscal Year 2009.
  • $90 million in additional funding for barracks at Fort Lee, Va.
  • $11 million for dining facilities at Fort Lee, Va.
  • $4 million for a group storage facility at Fort Lee, Va.
  • $3 million for a Multipurpose Machine Gun Range at Fort Pickett, Va.

 Support for Navy, Shipbuilding, and Repair

  • Full funding for one Virginia Class Submarine, plus $722 million in additional funding to allow defense industrial base to build two submarines beginning in 2010, rather than waiting until 2011 that are in current Navy plans.
  • More than $600 million for the aircraft carrier overhaul of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
  • $120 million in additional ship repair funding included at the request of Rep. Forbes.  This funding will allow for 31 more ship maintenance periods and one more submarine maintenance period than was in the budget request.  About 40% of the new work would occur in the Hampton Road region.
  • $10 million for a new gate entrance at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia to ease traffic congestion and provide access during heightened threat condition.  The project includes a new turn lane off George Washington Highway to the Shipyard, a new pass office, security gate, a vehicle inspection area, and a guard house.  An average of 12,000 vehicles enters the Shipyard each day.  This project was included at the request of Rep. Forbes.
  • $1.8 billion for a San Antonio LPD-17 ship, which was requested by Rep. Forbes.  The LPD carries vehicles, helicopters, and troops close to shore. The additional ship will help the Navy get a step closer to a 313 ship Navy.
  • The measure did not include a waiver to allow the Navy to reduce its fleet from 11 aircraft carriers to 10 aircraft carriers.  Rep. Forbes along with other members on the Armed Services Committee, believe that 11 aircraft carriers should be the minimum number of carriers we have.
  • $30 million at the request of Rep. Forbes for the Maritime Guaranteed Loan Program to support a strong domestic shipbuilding industrial base and preserve a U.S. flagged merchant fleet.
  • A limitation on the leasing of foreign-built ships.

Other Initiatives Supported by Rep. Forbes in H.R. 5658

  • The establishment of an interagency panel between the Department of Defense and Department of State to identify reforms to coordinate more effectively on national security matters.
  • $800,000 for the Virginia Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis Center (VMASC) at Old Dominion University to develop modeling and simulation (M&S) standards for the Department of Defense.
  • $20 million for the Procurement Technical Assistance Program, which helps guide small businesses in communities surrounding Fort Lee, Va., and other military installations in bidding and receiving Department of Defense contracts.  The service is provided at no cost to the small businesses.

Supported House passage of H.Con.Res. 334, a resolution in support of National Military Appreciation Month to honor our Armed Forces and the men and women who serve to preserve the freedom, security and prosperity enjoyed by the people of the United States. 

Voted to support H.R. 5658, the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of 2009 during the House Armed Services Committee markup of the annual defense policy bill.  The bill includes support for military readiness, military families, the base realignment and closure process for 2005, and the Navy and shipbuilding and repair: 

Support for Military Readiness

  • An additional $2.6 billion to field Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP) to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Authorizes an increase of 13,450 military personnel in 2009 to increase end-strength and increase the time soldiers spend at home between tours of duty.
  • $2 billion toward unfunded readiness initiatives requested by the services.
  • $11 billion for equipment reset requirements.
  • $500 million to fix recently discovered shortfalls in military barracks.
  • A requirement for the Pentagon to study joint logistics organization.  The Virginia Fourth Congressional District is home to Army Logistics at Fort Lee, Virginia, and also U.S. Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, Virginia, which is responsible to make sure deployed forces are properly equipped and manned.

 Support for Military Families and Veterans

  • Funding for a 3.9% pay raise for active duty military personnel to reduce the pay gap between the military and private sector pay to 2.9%.
  • Prohibit increases in both TRICARE and pharmacy user fees, which would prevent over $1.2 billion in healthcare costs from being passed on to service members.
  • Increased funding for family support programs by $15 million.
  • Establishes a tuition assistance program for eligible military spouses, authorizing a career intermission pilot program, and creating new preventive health care initiatives.

 Implementing Base Realignment and Closure

  • 100% of the required funding for the implementation of the Base Realignment and Closure Round 2005.  Fort Lee, Virginia will double in size as a result of the BRAC 2005 round.
  • $10.6 million for dining facilities at Fort Lee, Virginia.
  • $4.35 million for a group storage facility at Fort Lee, Virginia.
  • $2.95 million for a Multipurpose Machine Gun Range at Fort Pickett, Virginia.
  • $90 million for barracks at Fort Lee, Virginia.

 Support for Navy, Shipbuilding, and Repair

  • Full funding for one Virginia Class Submarine, plus $722 million in additional funding to allow defense industrial base to build two submarines beginning in 2010, rather than waiting until 2011 that are in current Navy plans.
  • More than $600 million for the aircraft carrier overhaul of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
  • $120 million in additional ship repair funding included at the request of Rep. Forbes.  This funding will allow for 31 more ship maintenance periods and one more submarine maintenance period than was in the budget request.  About 40% of the new work would occur in the Hampton Road region.
  • $10 million for a new gate entrance at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia to ease traffic congestion and provide access during heightened threat condition.  The project includes a new turn lane off George Washington Highway to the Shipyard, a new pass office, security gate, a vehicle inspection area, and a guard house.  An average of 12,000 vehicles enter the Shipyard each day.  This project was included at the request of Rep. Forbes.
  • $1.8 billion for a San Antonio LPD-17 ship, which was requested by Rep. Forbes.  The LPD carries vehicles, helicopters, and troops close to shore. The additional ship will help the Navy get a step closer to a 313 ship Navy.
  • The measure did not include a waiver to allow the Navy to reduce its fleet from 11 aircraft carriers to 10 aircraft carriers.  Rep. Forbes along with other members on the Committee, believe that 11 aircraft carriers should be the minimum number of carriers we have.
  • $30 million at the request of Rep. Forbes for the Maritime Guaranteed Loan Program to support a strong domestic shipbuilding industrial base and preserve a U.S. flagged merchant fleet; and
  • A limitation on the leasing of foreign-built ships.

Offered an amendment to H.R. 5658 that requires the Navy to report to Congress on the timetable for the development of a target for the “Sizzler” missile.  The amendment was adopted by voice vote.  The Sizzler missile is a Russian made, sea skimming missile that has been deployed in the last 8 of 12 Chinese submarines.  Current target technology owned by the Navy cannot verify that U.S. ships, including aircraft carriers can defend against the missile.  Rep. Forbes has repeatedly called upon the Navy to develop a target as soon as possible.

Offered an amendment to H.R. 5658 calling on Congress to pass an emergency war supplemental as soon as possible on May 14, 2008.   The supplemental bill would provide funding for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through next summer.  The funding would also improve our military’s readiness by funding efforts to increase the Army’s end-strength by 36,000 soldiers and restoring broken or damaged equipment.  By increasing the number of soldiers in the Army over time, each soldier will have more time at home between deployments.  The measure was not adopted by the committee.

Voted in favor of an amendment to H.R. 2642, the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 to pass an emergency defense spending bill.  Following the contentious vote on the funding, which failed 141-149, Rep. Forbes said, "I am not going to play politics when it comes to funding our troops who are fighting over in Iraq. I voted for troop funding because it is my responsibility to see that our troops get the funding they need, first and foremost. However, I could not support increasing discretionary spending and other entitlements in the same bill after it became clear that no funding was approved for our men and women in uniform. While foreign aid programs, unemployment benefits, and GI bill improvements all deserve serious consideration in this Congress, it is unthinkable to include them in a war supplemental that doesn't even fund our troops."

Served as Ranking Member during the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee markup of the annual defense policy bill.    The bill authorizes $143 billion for operation and maintenance and $24 billion for military construction.  The bill also increases funding for Army training, prepositioned stocks and aircraft maintenance.  The bill was approved by voice vote and will now be considered by the full House Armed Services Committee.  The bill also includes: 

  • $500 million to fix recently discovered shortfalls in military barracks,
  • $80 million for energy conservation projects and updates installation energy reporting requirements
  • $120 million in additional ship repair funding included at the request of Rep. Forbes.  This funding will allow for 31 more ship maintenance periods and one more submarine maintenance period than was in the budget request.  About 40% of the new work would occur in the Hampton Road region.
  • 100% of the required funding for the implementation of the Base Realignment and Closure Round 2005.  Fort Lee, Virginia will double in size as a result of the BRAC 2005 round.
  • $90 million for barracks at Fort Lee, Virginia;
  • $32 million for a Regional Training Institute at Fort Pickett, Virginia;
  • $10 million for a new gate at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia to provide security and ease traffic congestion during heightened threat condition.  This was included at the request of Rep. Forbes.
  • $10.6 million for dining facilities at Fort Lee, Virginia;
  • $4.35 million for a group storage facility at Fort Lee, Virginia;
  • $2.95 million for a Multipurpose Machine Gun Range at Fort Pickett, Virginia; and
  • A requirement for the Pentagon to study joint logistics organization.  The Virginia Fourth Congressional District is home to Army Logistics at Fort Lee, Virginia, and also U.S. Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, Virginia, which is responsible to make sure deployed forces are properly equipped and manned.

Voted to approve the House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee markup of the annual defense policy bill.  During the markup, Rep. Forbes, along with Rep. Joe Courtney, Rep. Brad Ellsworth, and Rep. Rob Wittman, introduced a bipartisan amendment to increase submarine funding by $300 million.  The amendment was adopted by voice vote, and the funding will allow the Navy to accelerate the delivery of an additional Virginia Class Submarine in 2010.  Under current plans, the Navy would not deliver two submarines per year until 2011.  The draft bill also included:

  • An additional $2.6 billion to field Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP) to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • More than $600 million for the aircraft carrier overhaul of the USS Theodore Roosevelt;
  • $2.8 billion for a Virginia Class Submarine;
  • $1.8 billion for a the San Antonio LPD-17 ship, which was requested by Rep. Forbes.  The LPD carries vehicles, helicopters, and troops close to shore, and the additional ship will help the Navy get a step closer to a 313 ship Navy; the vessel is consistently at the top of the Navy and Marine Corps’ unfunded requirements list.
  • Five additional ships, including two Littoral Combat ships, one Joint High Speed Vessel, and two ammunition ships;
  • $30 million at the request of Rep. Forbes for the Maritime Guaranteed Loan Program to support a strong domestic shipbuilding industrial base and preserve a U.S. flagged merchant fleet;
  • Language reiterating the Virginia Class Submarine teaming agreement between Electric Boat of Groton, CT and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia;
  • A limitation on the leasing of foreign-built ships; and
  • The measure did not include a waiver to allow the Navy to reduce its fleet from 11 aircraft carriers to 10 aircraft carriers.  Rep. Forbes along with other members on the subcommittee, believe that 11 aircraft carriers should be the minimum number of carriers we have.

Lauded the agreement between U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) and the Old Dominion University that will utilize modeling and simulation (M&S) technologies to support joint training and experimentation.  The three year agreement signed on April 29, 2008 will harness ODU’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) capabilities to advance M&S and enhance training development for the U.S. military. During this year’s congressional budget cycle, Congressman Forbes requested funding for Modeling and Simulation Standards Development at JFCOM to be accomplished at VMASC.  If this funding is provided, it will help JFCOM bring together the military’s M&S community to identify common standards for use across the Department of Defense.  Congressman Forbes is the Founder and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus.

Wrote a letter to the Navy requesting 45 more days to study the Environmental Impact Statement regarding the alternatives to move Navy ships or submarines to Mayport, Florida. After the USS John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier that was based in Mayport, FL was retired more than a year ago, the Navy has been studying what ships, if any, should relocate to the southern port.  The Navy agreed to provide a 15-day extension to allow more time for the Commonwealth of Virginia and other interest parties to provide comment to the Navy.

Hosted the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition (ACIBC) at their annual breakfast on Capitol Hill on Thursday, April 24.  The ACIBC represents companies and small-business contractors from around the country that perform work on the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers.  The 4th Congressional District of Virginia includes more than 100 suppliers that have contributed to the construction of aircraft carriers, which are built exclusively at Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard.  At the breakfast, Rep. Forbes noted the increasing challenges for the coalition members because the federal budget continues to be squeezed by rising energy prices, interest payments and entitlement spending. 

Met with the Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey, to discuss the readiness of Army personnel and their equipment.  During the meeting, Rep. Forbes indicated his concern to the Chief of Staff about the toll of repeated deployments on Army soldiers and their families.  He also said he would continue to push for Congress to pass the FY2008 supplemental, which would provide funding for the Army to begin increasing its size by 36,000 soldiers.  By adding more soldiers, the Army can give soldiers more time between deployments.  The supplemental funding is being held up by congressional leadership. 

Introduced H.Res. 1129 with House Armed Service Air/Land Subcommittee Ranking Member Jim Saxton, which urges Congress to pass the remaining supplemental funding for this year.  The funding would increase the Army’s size and provide funds for the reset and restoration of the equipment for the five combat brigades returning from Iraq this summer.  Rep. Forbes introduced the resolution in response to concerns that Congress’ lack of timely funding for the military  is undermining the long-term readiness of the military.  The resolution states in part, “Congress should immediately act to pass a clean fiscal year 2008 global war on terror supplemental in the interest of national security and to ensure the integrity of the entire military force.”  Rep. Forbes is the highest ranking minority member on the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.  

Served as Ranking Member at a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee briefing from the Navy regarding ship maintenance for two Navy vessels found to be unfit for combat operations.  Rep. Forbes requested the briefing after an internal Navy inspection found the USS Chosin and USS Stout, which are based in Norfolk, VA., would require numerous repairs before conducting combat operations.  Rep. Forbes asked the Navy officials to explain whether this problem was an isolated incident or a systemic problem, and whether these problems resulted from a lack of funding.  Prior to the Navy inspection, Rep. Forbes had asked the House Armed Services Committee to consider providing additional funding for the Navy’s ship maintenance account.   

Met with 36 senior civilians from the Army to discuss the role the House Armed Services Committee has in oversight and to listen to the officials regarding their concerns for the Army.  Mr. Bill Moore, Deputy to the Commander of the Army’s Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM), representing Fort Lee, Virginia, in the 4th Congressional District, also participated in the meeting. 

Served as Ranking Member during a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on H. Res. 834, a resolution regarding the readiness of the U.S. military.   During the hearing, Congressman Forbes said, “We must realize we cannot snap our fingers and produce a military that is fully ready — regardless of the funds provided. It takes time measured in months — not weeks — to recruit, train, and ready soldiers and Marines.  It also takes time, often 18-months or more, to field the equipment our soldiers and Marines need to accomplish their missions.  Every day that passes without the readiness funding included in the 2008 supplemental is one more day that we delay gains in strategic readiness.” 

Cosponsored H. Con. Res. 295 to express the deep appreciation of Congress to the families of members of the United States Armed Forces. 

 Co-authored a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates requesting a timeline for promoting the top National Guard official to four-star general.   As part of last year’s defense policy bill, Congress required the Pentagon to ensure the National Guard had a representative at the highest rank in the military, which is a four-star general.  Congress made the change to ensure the National Guard has a seat at the table in the discussion of defense issues. The National Guard has transitioned from a strategic reserve to an operational one that is equipped and deployable alongside active duty units.  The current National Guard Bureau Chief, Steve Blum, is a three-star general. 

Was cited in an article in The Hill  newspaper for writing a letter to the Pentagon’s top acquisition official, John Young, about why the Air Force appears to be wasting taxpayer dollars on package deliveries.   A recent package sent by the Air Force from Corpus Christi, Texas, to a base in Lexington, Oklahoma, traveled 2,243 miles before reaching its destination — even though the two cities are only 576 miles apart.  This happened due to an Air Force regulation that is sometimes interpreted as a requirement that a shipment be flown for at least one leg of the delivery route.  The letter states in part, “This confusion is generated by lack of clear guidance and poor training and is resulting in inefficiency and unnecessary cost to the taxpayer.”

Questioned General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, during a House Armed Service Committee hearing on Iraq.  After the hearing, Rep. Forbes said, “General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker are regarded as two of the most respected military and diplomatic leaders respectively in the country today. Seven months ago in their last report to Congress, we received a thorough and open account on the situation in Iraq. Today, they have held to that standard by providing a candid assessment of both the success and challenges we face in Iraq. General Petraeus noted that we have seen defining steps forward in achieving political and economic progress in Iraq, which I saw firsthand in my most recent visit to Iraq over Christmas. General Petraeus also testified today that while the progress is significant, it is fragile and reversible. I look forward to closely following the transition from U.S. to Iraq control of security and reconstruction operations. As I do so, I am constantly grateful for the unwavering commitment of our men and women in uniform who are serving on the frontlines and who continue to keep America safe.”

Voted in favor of H. Res. 265, a resolution honoring military children during “National Month of the Military Child.”  This resolution recognizes the personal sacrifices of children of members of the Armed Forces that often go unnoticed, and honors their unique contribution by demonstrating the nation’s support to members of the Armed Forces and their families.

Questioned senior Army and Marine Corps officials on the status of U.S. Ground Forces during a House Armed Service Committee hearing.  When Rep. Forbes asked whether congressional action to fund the Fiscal Year 2008 war supplemental will impact the readiness of our forces, General Richard Cody stated, “The Army runs out of pay for Active Duty and National Guard Soldiers in June 2008; the Army runs out of operation and maintenance funding for the Active component in early July and for the Guard in late June; two Stryker Bridge Combat Teams (BCTs) may not receive hull protection kits before they deploy; Armored Security Vehicles could face a break in production;  Army National Guard will not receive 10 CH-47 F model helicopters; converting and existing BCTs will not receive the Bridge to Future Networks communications systems; and the Army will be unable to upgrade and construct facilities for returning Wounded Warriors at Forts Drum, Campbell, Stewart, Carson, Hood, Riley and Polk.”

Signed a letter asking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring funding for military personnel and equipment reset to the floor for a vote before military operations are impacted by the delay.  The letter states in part, “Republicans agree with Army officers when they state that the ‘Army is not broken,’ but we recognize that our forces are stressed.  Additionally, we understand that immediate action on the Fiscal Year 2008 Supplemental would ease the stress on our ground forces.  Madame Speaker, all Members of Congress are concerned about the readiness of our military forces, and none want to put our brave military personnel in danger.  Understanding that continued inaction directly impacts our military’s ability to improve readiness, we urge you to work with the House Appropriations Committee to move the Fiscal Year 2008 Supplemental to the House floor for a vote without further delay.”  

Met with Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead, to discuss key Navy issues, including increasing our Navy to 313 ships under a tight budget environment, accelerating the development of a target to test the Navy’s defense against China’s “Sizzler” missile, and expanding  the Congressional Navy-Marine Corps Caucus. “These are key issues for the Navy and for our overall national security,” Forbes said. “I am pleased that we were able to discuss these issues first-hand with Admiral Roughead, and I look forward to working with the Navy on the development and acceleration of these plans in the House Armed Services Committee and through the Navy-Marine Corps Caucus.”  

Served as
Ranking Member during a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the Fiscal Year 2009 budget request and needs of the National Guard and Reserves.   During the hearing, Congressman Forbes stated, “The readiness of our troops is critical to our national security and success in the war on terror.  The Department of Defense continues to face budgetary pressures against the backdrop of the on-going war on terror, continued high operations tempo and a need to recapitalize much of its aging equipment. In 2001, the Army had a $56 billion shortfall in major weapons systems and modernization funding.  The Army is now on a path to reduce that to $17.4 billion by 2013.  The reserve component was a large part of that number and will benefit greatly from investments being made to modernize and equip the forces.”  

Hosted a live teletown hall on the Navy’s Outlying Landing Field study on March 10thRep. Forbes called approximately 5,000 households in Sussex and Southampton counties to answer questions and hear comments about the Navy’s study of five sites for an Outlying Landing Field.  Rep. Forbes said the process continues to be of utmost concern both to the residents of his district and to the Navy.  As Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, he intends to closely follow the Navy’s actions as it continues the process of studying sites and seeking public input.  The Outlying Landing Field would allow Navy pilots to practice aircraft carrier landings at night before attempting such a landing on an actual aircraft carrier. The teletown hall technology allows hundreds of constituents to participate in a conference call with Rep. Forbes.   

Spoke with Assistant Secretary of the Navy, B.J. Penn, about the Navy’s impending release of the draft study regarding the possible options for homeporting ships in Mayport, Florida.  The Navy is studying the options after the Navy retired its aircraft carrier, the USS Kennedy, last year.  Several Members of Congress are concerned about moving any aircraft carrier from Norfolk, Virginia, to another East Coast location because the cost of upgrading a facility to support a nuclear carrier could be wasteful.  The cost issue creates even greater concern given the current challenges in budgeting for the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan, which calls for 313 ships by 2020.  The final study is expected to be released in September.

Served as Ranking Member during a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Defense’s Energy posture.  In his opening statement, Rep. Forbes said, “One of the goals of the hearing today is to discuss the two serious energy risk areas that are identified in your report—energy risks to our operational forces and the risks of extended loss of power at fixed installation.  I’d like to know what needs to be done to bring your recommendations to fruition so that we can take steps necessary to further strengthen DOD’s energy posture and therefore strengthen our national defense.” 

Asked questions to Admiral Tim Keating during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the 2009 Pacific Command budget request.  Admiral Keating oversees all U.S. military forces in the Pacific region and East Asia.  Rep. Forbes asked the Admiral if Navy ships in the region had the capability to defend against a Russian-made subsonic missile that has been deployed on eight of the last 12 Chinese diesel submarines.  The missiles are notable for being difficult to track on radar.  Last year, Rep. Forbes added $10 million to the defense budget to develop a test decoy so the Navy can evaluate its capabilities against the missile, which is known as “the Sizzler.”  Admiral Keating agreed to provide Rep. Forbes with a description of what funding and policy Congress could implement to assist the Navy in accelerating the testing against the missile, which Admiral Keating characterized as a capability he wished the Navy had now. 

Voted against the override of H.R. 2082, the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2008The bill would waste taxpayers’ dollars by creating a duplicative “Inspector General (IG) of the Intelligence Community,” because each intelligence agency, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, already has an IG.  The bill would also require two positions that have not previously required Senate confirmation to require such a confirmation.  This provision contradicts an observation of the 9/11 Commission that the effectiveness of our intelligence activities suffered as a result of delays in the confirmation process and would politicize what should be a neutral intelligence position. All U.S. intelligence programs have been deemed to comply with Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions by the Attorney General.  

Met with Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Lt. Gen. Robert Magnus, to discuss recruiting and retention, readiness and the Marine Corp FY 2009 budget request.  Rep. Forbes is the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, which overseas about 30 percent of the military’s budget authorization. 

Served as Ranking Member during a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on Inherently Governmental Functions.  The hearing covered security and logistics contracts in Iraq, the contracting of security at military bases, repairing equipment and the outsourcing of acquisition-support services.  Rep. Forbes stated, “Are we making the best personnel decisions for the long-term health of our military—rather than for short term benefit?  We should think carefully before putting contractors in a position where they must choose between best value for the taxpayer and maximizing shareholder value.  The reason we have a government is to make those decisions for the collective good.  It is in the strategic interests of this country not to delegate that responsibility.”

Announced that the Department of the Army will construct a $4.9 million Child Development Center (CDC) at Fort Lee, Virginia, as part of the Army’s increasing support for Army families.  Once completed, the center will have a capacity for 135 children.  The contract is slated to be awarded by October 2008.  Fort Lee was one of a select group of Army posts awarded the construction of a CDC.  Rep. Forbes received the notice of the construction as part of his responsibilities as Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.

Questioned Admiral William Fallon, Commander of U.S. Central Command and Rear Admiral Eric Olson, Commander of Special Operations Command, during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Iraq, Afghanistan and U.S. Special Operations Forces.  Rep. Forbes asked both flag officers how they felt about the quality of the soldiers under their command and what they thought would happen if the U.S. left Iraq tomorrow.  Both commanders indicated that the soldiers under their command were the most professional, capable, experienced and adaptable soldiers they had ever served with, and that leaving Iraq too quickly would present devastating consequences to our national security.

Met with Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Commander of Fleet Forces Command in Chesapeake, Virginia.  Rep. Forbes and the Admiral discussed fleet repair and ship construction.  The Admiral stated that he was very upbeat and positive about the state of the fleet and they can support any mission handed down.  Admiral Greenert took over as Commander of Fleet Forces Command when the previous commander, Admiral Gary Roughhead, was selected to become the top naval officer in the country, the Chief of Naval Operations.

Repeatedly voted to have the House consider the Senate passed S. 2248, a bipartisan foreign intelligence surveillance bill.  The legislation gives intelligence agencies long-term certainty in their efforts to protect the nation and would protect companies assisting the government from lawsuits related to national security activities.  However, House leadership refuses to bring this bill to the floor, which has led to lapses in our intelligence-gathering efforts.Questioned Secretary of the Army, Mr. Pete Geren, and Chief of Staff of the Army, General George Casey, during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Fiscal Year 2009 Army budget.  Rep. Forbes questioned both officials on the state of the Army and the execution of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round.  The Army senior leaders noted that BRAC is slated to remain on schedule and meet the September 2011 deadline as long as Congress provides the BRAC funds in full and on time.  Fort Lee near Petersburg, VA, will nearly double in size as a result of the 2005 BRAC round.

Served as Ranking Member during a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on Military Construction in Fiscal Year 2009.  Rep. Forbes questioned Navy officials about their study of potential sites for the Outlying Landing Field (OLF).  He asked officials to describe the timeline for the study process and whether officials would request any authorization or funding for the OLF this year.  The Navy official said that after the Washington County site in North Carolina was no longer being considered, the Governors of Virginia and North Carolina gave the Navy additional sites.  The officials also stated that the study typically takes 30 months, and that there could be no funding or authorization for OLF construction this year until the sites are studied under the National Environmental Protection Act provisions.  The officials also said that the Navy was considering possible incentives for localities impacted by a new OLF.

Signed on as an original cosponsor to a congressional resolution honoring the 60th anniversary of the integration of the U.S. Armed Services. On July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981, which ordered that all people in the armed services be treated equally and be given opportunites regardless of race, color, religion, or national origin. The resolution honors the brave African Americans who served our nation in uniform during a critical time in our nation’s history.

Attended the Submarine Industrial Base Council congressional breakfast on February 28thThe members of the council were in Washington to meet with Members of Congress to discuss the contributions submarines have made to our national security, particularly in light of the growing Chinese navy.  In last year’s budget process, Rep. Forbes and other Members of Congress supported increasing the number of submarines the government purchases each year from one submarine to two submarines.  After receiving the additional funding, the Navy’s budget now shows that it will purchase two submarines in 2011 rather than 2012.  Nuclear submarines are built in Newport News, VA and Groton, CT.

Addressed the National Ship Repair Industry Conference on February 27th regarding the challenges facing our naval forces and the size of the U.S. Navy.  Rep. Forbes reminded members that they should consider the Navy’s official goal of a 313-ship fleet as a floor, not a ceiling.  Rep. Forbes also thanked the members of the association for their service to the country and encouraged them to share their message with other Members of Congress who may be unaware of their contributions to the Navy. 

Submitted a statement for the record to the House Budget Committee to increase the defense budget if Congress does not address the Fiscal Year 2008 or 2009 supplemental spending bills. The bills provide funding to reset and restore military equipment while replacing worn vehicles and aircraft.   Rep. Forbes is the Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.

Submitted questions for the record to Secretary of the Air Force, Mr. Mike Wynne and Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Mike Moseley, concerning the Fiscal Year 2009 budget for the U.S. Air Force.  Rep. Forbes questioned the Air Force’s decision to cut 30,000 personnel over the last few years in light of the service’s request for more personnel this year.  Given the Army’s announcement of its plan to increase the size of the Army by 72,000 personnel last year, Rep. Forbes asked Air Force officials if they would consider putting Air Force personnel reduction on pause. He pointed out that taxpayers may save money if the Air Force halts its reduction now, instead of having to pay more money in the future to build up its force.