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YCAPS was honored to host Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) at our Indo-Pacific Maritime Hour webinar on the 10th of September. Congresswoman Luria is a US Navy veteran who once served on ships based here in Yokosuka. She is currently the Vice Chair of the House Armed Services Committee. The webinar was moderated by John Bradford, Executive Director of YCAPS and also a Navy veteran, and was joined by around 80 participants, including experts in the field, Congresswoman Luria’s constituents, and people with military background.

The Congresswoman started by introducing herself and the district she represents, and explaining how the National Defense Authorization Act works to determine the Department of Defense’ annual budget. Throughout the webinar, Congresswoman Luria highlighted several problems she sees, particularly the disconnection between defense budget and the vision for the future of the armed forces. She also emphasized on the importance of allocating the right resource to bolster the Navy’s operational capacity in the Pacific by drawing attention to the recent $24 billion Pentagon budget boost that will allow the Navy to build more ships.

20 minutes after the webinar commenced, participants engaged in a lively discussion with the Congresswoman. Topics included the Navy’s future strategy on a macro scale, comparisons between Cold War era’s maritime strategy and today’s, and building relations with the Navies of allied nations. The webinar reflected the growing challenge in the Indo-Pacific, and the crucial role which the US Navy plays in the region.