Supporting Our Naval Bases
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I believe that it is my duty to work to improve services for our servicemembers and veterans. Over the last several years I have worked with my colleagues in Congress to increase military pay and benefits and improve the readiness of our military, which is strained by our ongoing involvement in Afghanistan. To that end, I strongly support Naval Station Everett and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, the two military bases in the Second Congressional District.
Naval bases in Northwest Washington play a crucial role in keeping our country safe and protecting our interests worldwide. The Asia-Pacific region will continue to be vital to our economy and national security, and Naval Station Everett and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island must have sufficient resources to support troops there and protect our nation.
Naval Station Everett
Naval Station Everett, aptly nicknamed “The Sailor’s Choice,” is home to more than 6,000 sailors and their families. Two destroyers, three frigates, one aircraft carrier, and two Coast Guard cutters are homeported at the base. I pushed hard on the Navy to bring a new aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz, to replace the USS Lincoln. By 2020, Naval Station Everett will be the homeport to five destroyers, as the Navy retires its frigate fleet. The base is the most modern in the Navy and a leader in the Navy’s efforts to reduce energy use – NS Everett is the newest and most energy efficient base in the Navy and includes two LEED Gold and 29 energy star buildings as rated by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, located in Oak Harbor, has been a critical part of our nation's defense for nearly 70 years. The base is home to the Navy's Electronic Attack Squadrons of EA-6B Prowlers and the new EA-18G Growlers, as well as P-3 Orion Reconnaissance Aircraft. In June 2014, the Navy announced that six squadrons of P-8 Poseidons will be based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. These planes, built just south of us in Renton, will replace the P-3 and conduct the vital maritime surveillance mission. There are over 7,800 active duty sailors and Marines based at NAS Whidbey, and more than 10,000 military retirees in the community.
I am committed to ensuring that NAS Whidbey Island remains one of the preeminent military installations used by our armed forces, while also ensuring that those who live near the base are not negatively impacted by base operations. I have met several times with people who have expressed their concerns about aircraft noise at NAS Whidbey Island and at Outlying Field Coupeville. At my direction, my office has discussed these issues with senior NAS Whidbey Island leadership. I also have encouraged the base to improve its communications with community members. As a result, the base conducts semiannual Community Leaders meetings to allow local community leaders to discuss issues they receive from residents.
- Successfully fought for a 2015 defense spending bill that included several provisions to strengthen the Northwest economy and improve national defense.
- Supported legislation to create a plan and timeframe to transition forces and start diplomatic negotiations in Afghanistan.
- Selected to be Ranking Member of the bipartisan Defense Business Panel, which aims to encourage competition and implement improvement within defense contracting to promote better products and services for the military during a time of budgetary restraints.
- Support the drawdown of American troops in Iraq, which brought the majority of troops home by December 31, 2011 and transition to building a strong U.S.-Iraq diplomatic relationship
- Worked with the Chief of Naval Operations to bring the P-8A Poseidon planes to NAS Whidbey Island.
- Supported ratification of the New START Treaty, which requires the United States and Russia to reduce the number of strategic nuclear warheads and launchers while allowing the U.S. to maintain a safe and secure nuclear arsenal to protect our national security
- Supported legislation that increased military pay, expanded health care coverage for the children of service members, and increased the family separation allowance for troops who are deployed away from their families