16 March 2004

The Honorable John W. Warner
Chairman, Armed Services Committee
United States Senate
228 Russell Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
FAX: (202)228-0037

Dear Senator Warner:

In anticipation that you will be asked to consider a provision changing the title of Secretary of the Navy to Secretary of the Navy and Marine Corps, the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) wishes to reiterate its strong endorsement of this proposal for future deliberations. If authorized, this proposal would enhance the role of the Marine Corps as an equal member of the Armed Services in the eyes of our citizens who have always admired Marines for their dedication and loyalty to the Nation. The recent participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom proves again the Corps merits recognition as a separate armed service with its own Secretarial department. However, in view of the Navy-Marine Corps concept and the extraordinary expense of establishing a separate entity, the most reasonable solution would be to change the title of Secretary of the Navy to Secretary of the Navy and Marine Corps.

In the opinion of the FRA, the previous appointment of the Commandant of the Marine Corps as a permanent member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was sufficient justification to recognize the Corps as an armed service equal to the task of providing its opinion and recommendations on joint and combined operations with the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Subsequently, the assignment of a Marine as the Assistant Chairman of the Joint Staff and the appointment of the immediate past Commandant as the NATO commander, only adds to the advocacy. Both appointments have placed the Corps on a parallel with other services that have had general and flag officers at the highest levels of command.

The Corps has filled a unique niche in the Nationís history not duplicated by any of the other armed services. It provides exceptional and exclusive capabilities in concert with its sister services, in war and in peace. And, finally, the Corps as the second most senior armed service should receive the honor it truly deserves - equitable distinction among the military departments in the U.S. defense structure.

Recognizing the Corps as an equal partner in a new Department of the Navy and Marine Corps give the Marines the distinction and esteem they truly deserve. FRA strongly advocates the change and urges your strong support for the proposal when offered for consideration.

Sincerely,
JOSEPH L. BARNES
National Executive Secretary


JLB:aal

cc: The Honorable Duncan Hunter
Chairman, Armed Services Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
FAX: (202) 225-9077

The Honorable Ike Skelton
Ranking Member, Armed Services Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
FAX: (202) 225-9077

The Honorable Walter B. Jones
United States Representative
422 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D. C. 20515

The Honorable Carl Levin
Ranking Member, Armed Services Committee
United States Senate
228 Russell Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
FAX: (202)228-0037