Fellow Members of the U.S. Naval Institute,
This letter comes as the nation continues to grapple with severe economic distress both here and in Europe. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 34 percent in 2008, but recovered 19 percent in 2009. While that was one encouraging note, it is countered by an unemployment rate at a 25-year high of 10.5 percent and the ongoing challenge for U.S. forces engaged in two wars-all of this in the Institute's 136th year of service to our country.
Challenging times continue for the nation, the Sea Services, and the Naval Institute. The Institute's role as the only non-profit, professional military association offering an independent, nonpartisan forum on national security is more valuable than ever. We continue to advocate for a strong national defense, to educate the public on the enduring role of sea power in maintaining it, and to remember the obligation America owes to the men and women of the all-volunteer force who provide it.