WASHIGNTON, D.C. – The National Defense Authorization Act passed the U.S. House last night and includes Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán’s legislation to designate the battleship U.S.S. Iowa Museum as the National Museum of the Surface Navy. Once it becomes law, as expected, this bill will make the Battleship Iowa the first and only museum in the nation dedicated solely to the men and women who have served in the surface forces of the U.S. Navy.
“This legislation honors the men and women who have served – and continue to serve – in the surface forces of the United States by designating this museum as a monument to their sacrifice,” Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán said. “In decades past, the Iowa defended our nation. Today, the battleship serves our local community and visitors worldwide by educating the next generation. The U.S.S. Iowa is now not only a tourist attraction and hallmark of California’s 44th Congressional District, but also a living monument to the surface forces of the U.S. Navy.”
Commissioned in 1943, the U.S.S. Iowa was the most powerful American warship of her time. The ship saw action across much of the Pacific during World War II and even transported President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the first transatlantic leg of his journey to the 1943 Tehran Conference with the other Allied leaders. The Iowa was present during the Japanese surrender at Tokyo Bay 75 years ago and continued to serve our country throughout the Cold War. It was active during the Korean War and supported NATO in the 1980s after being recommissioned.
Since 2012, the battleship has been berthed in San Pedro, acting as a museum and monument to those who have served. The museum and its dedicated team also offer vital resources to educate students, including Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics programs, field trips, and the “Camp Battleship” youth overnight camping program aboard Battleship Iowa. Additionally, the Battleship Iowa Museum promotes veterans causes through hosting job fairs, Los Angeles Fleet Week, Memorial Day and Veteran Day ceremonies, and serving as a veterans’ resource center.
“We are deeply grateful for Congresswoman Barragan’s commitment to our community and our organization by seeing the vision of the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship Iowa. The Congresswoman’s support of this designation not only establishes the first and only museum to sailors that have served aboard U.S. Navy ships since 1775, but also significantly raises the profile of the importance of Surface Navy in trade, commerce, and humanitarian assistance at the busiest port complex in the Western Hemisphere. There is no doubt that this designation is one of the most significant developments in recent years for San Pedro, the Los Angeles region, and our nation,” said CEO & President of the Battleship Iowa Museum Jonathan Williams.
When Congresswoman Barragán and Senator Dianne Feinstein first introduced the legislation in September 2020, retired Rear Admiral Mike Shatynski, Chairman of the Board for the museum, said: “In 1775, Congress founded our Navy by commissioning a handful of surface ships. For 244 years, our country’s Surface Navy has protected free trade on the seas, provided humanitarian assistance, and promoted international relations. I am grateful to Congresswoman Barragan and Senator Feinstein that we will be able to recognize the millions of Surface Navy sailors and their families for their service to our country and the world.”
The final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22 NDAA) has been agreed to by leaders of both the U.S. House and Senate. The Senate is expected to vote on it later this week. President Biden must then sign it into law.
The FY22 NDAA passed by the House this evening also includes two additional Barragan bills:
- Creating a program informing non-citizen military service members of options to become naturalized citizens. At both the time of enlistment and the time of separation from the military, non-citizens will be informed of existing programs or services that may aid in their naturalization process.
- The Strengthening Local Transportation Security Capabilities Act, which will improve information sharing by putting more federal intelligence analysts and resources near high-risk surface transportation assets, including public transportation rail and bus systems. The bill would also provide new terrorism-focused training, and improve cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement partners.
“Transit systems are a lifeline to our communities, providing mobility to millions of Americans traveling every day. In my district, my constituents rely on L.A. Metro rail and bus systems to get to work, doctor appointments or to visit friends and family. I want them to be safe,” Congresswoman Barragán said. “In Los Angeles and throughout the country, transit systems are designed to be easily accessible for the passengers. That accessibility makes them difficult to protect and potential targets for terrorists – both domestic and foreign. This bill is critical for providing the necessary resources to keep our transit systems, and all who use them, safe and secure.”
Additionally, the FY 22 NDAA:
- secures a 2.7 percent pay increase for our men and women in uniform;
- invests in Historically Black Colleges and Universities to help build a fairer and more diverse Armed Services; and
- makes key investments to address the threat of climate change and bolster energy resiliency.
A summary of all the provisions in the FY22 NDAA is available here.