J. Randy Forbes

J. Randy Forbes


Press Release: Forbes Named “Legislator of the Year” by the Virginia Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America


The Virginia Council of Chapters of the Military Officers Association of America (VCOC MOAA) announced that Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) has been named the “Legislator of the Year.” 

The award recognizes Members of Congress for “exemplary support of the national security of the United States and the current and past members of the Armed Forces and their families.”

“The men and women serving in our armed forces are not only America’s finest, but also the reason this country is free,” said Congressman Forbes. “I am both honored and humbled to receive this award; I have no higher priority in Congress than continuing my work to defend our defenders, support our military families, care for our veterans, and properly equip our heroes on the frontlines.” 

Congressman Forbes is the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee on the House Armed Services Committee. For more information on Congressman Forbes’ work on these issues, visit his website at forbes.house.gov. 

The Virginia Council of Chapters of the Military Officers Association of America is an affiliation of MOAA chapters throughout Virginia. There are 18 MOAA chapters and over 40,000 MOAA members in Virginia. Learn more about VCOC MOAA, here: http://www.virginiamoaa.com MOAA is the nation's largest association of military officers. It is an independent, nonprofit, politically nonpartisan organization with approximately 380,000 members from every branch of service, and their families. To learn more about MOAA, visit their website: http://www.moaa.org/ 

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A Toolkit for Recent Grads


This spring, students across the country are walking across stages, clad in caps and gowns, proud to celebrate their educational accomplishments. But once the celebration and the graduation parties end, many graduates are also left feeling a bit overwhelmed by the responsibilities that await.

My office has built a Toolkit for Recent Grads, designed to provide resources that many graduates might need as they think about their lives beyond school and seek to set themselves up for success. Perhaps you have a son or daughter or grandchild who just graduated. Perhaps you know a neighbor or a member of your church youth group who recently graduated. I encourage you to forward this information to them.

Job Searching

It’s no secret that – although improving slightly – it is hard for new graduates to find good jobs. To help in the process, there are many tools available to job seekers, including popular sites like Monster, College Recruiter, and even social networking sites like LinkedIn. The following resources from the federal government may also help in job searching:

USAJobs for Students and Grads. USAJobs offers a listing of jobs in government service. The site includes a dedicated section for students and recent graduates who are considering federal work.

Upcoming Virginia Job Fairs. The Virginia Employment Commission maintains a list of upcoming job fairs in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Go Government. Go Government offers a one stop shop with information on how to find and apply for government jobs. The site includes information on anything from creating a federal resume, finding opportunities for persons with disabilities, exploring opportunities for veterans, and using the USAJobs site.

The Presidential Management Fellows Program. For recent graduates who have a strong academic record and an interest in government service, the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program offers exciting opportunities. The PMF program is a well-respected leadership development program that taps bright minds at the entry level.

The Virginia Education Wizard. For high school graduates looking to work immediately, the Virginia Education Wizard offers free career assessment tools and provides resources to help grads pursue their ideal careers.

Managing Finances

Many graduates will begin earning a paycheck for the first time in their lives. Many also find themselves for the first time paying rent, utility bills, and car payments completely on their own. At the same time, the average amount of debt that students carry at graduation is now approximately $27,000. That can be a lot to handle for anyone, and especially for those who have little experience managing finances. The following tools help recent grads to manage finances well from the start.

Preparing a BudgetSmartmoney.org offers articles, resources, calculators and tips to help grads manage their money. The calculators are specific to daily decisions and common emergencies, answering questions like, “How much do I need for emergencies?” or, “How long will it take to pay off my credit card?”

Student Loan Resources. As a standard rule, most federal student loan borrowers are required to start repaying loans within six months of graduation. However, there are a number of options available for individuals who find themselves in a situation of unemployment or inability to pay back federal student loans. I have created this list of resources on federal student loans to help individuals better understand their options for loan repayments and managing student loan debt.

Preparing for Tax Season. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers information to help grads prepare for taxes throughout the year, including a worksheet to determine how much to save throughout the year and solutions for filing taxes when it comes time.

10 Common Post Graduate Money Mistakes. This article lists ten common mistakes graduates make in managing their money and includes tips on how to prevent them.

Protecting Personal Information

If they haven’t already, recent graduates will begin to open bank accounts, apply for credit cards, and set up auto payments for student loans. It is more important than ever that young people focus on properly protecting personal information as early as possible.

IdentityTheft.gov. The Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft website provides critical step-by-step information detailing what to do if you suspect someone has stolen and may be using your personal information.

Annual Credit Report Request. In addition to regularly monitoring bank and credit card accounts, individuals can request annual credit reports for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.  Many banks and credit unions offer fraud alert programs to signal when unusual activity is detected in the account.

Saving for Retirement

It’s never too early to begin thinking about retirement, even for those who’ve just graduated. The benefits of saving now as a recent graduate can be enormous.

Investing Basics. These investing basics from investor.gov provide helpful tips on securing financial well-being, including simple definitions of investment products and how to invest during a first job.

Compounding Interest Basics. Explore the growth of money using the power of compound interest.

10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement. The United States Department of Labor offers ten ways grads (and anyone) can become more informed about retirement options.

For more resources specific to students, graduates, and everyone else, visit the Constituent Resource Center on my website. Read More

Where are the carriers?


When a crisis arises and American lives and interests are at risk, the first question decision makers ask is, “Where are the carriers?”

Our Navy’s aircraft carriers provide 4.5 acres of sovereign American territory and a mobile base of operations that reduces the need to deploy U.S. boots on the ground.  When ISIS blitzed through the Middle East last year, the strike fighters aboard the carrier George H.W. Bush were the only U.S. aircraft in position and ready to halt their advance.  It took 54 days for the United States to negotiate deals with allies in the region that allowed us to employ aircraft based on their territory.  In the months since, the carriers Carl Vinson and Theodore Roosevelt have rotated through the region, providing a constant American military presence, supporting ongoing operations against ISIS, and deterring aggression by Iran.  In other theaters, meanwhile, the presence of American carriers has deterred aggression, protected the free flow of goods, people, and information, and enabled the United States to extend a helping hand when natural disasters strike.

To maintain this critical presence, America needs a fleet of at least 11 carriers.
  This is not just some congressionally-mandated level—it is the number of carriers the Navy has said it needs to conduct current and future operations under our national security strategy.  As the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, said in March 2015, “Carrier force structure below 11 would inject significant risk in the Fleet’s ability to comply with the Defense Strategic Guidance.”  Indeed, demand for aircraft carriers has been exceeding supply for years.  As a result, carrier deployments have increased in length from 5.5 months on average in 2008 to 9.5 months for Carl Vinson in 2014-2015. This directly impacts the sailors who operate these important ships and their families.  Rear Admiral Thomas Moore arguably put it best when he said, “We're an 11-carrier Navy in a 15-carrier world.”

Reducing carrier requirements will have serious consequences for our Navy
. In May 2014, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Greenert said, “When I look out into the future, we need at least 11 carriers. That includes preserving the presence of today, the ability to react, be where it matters, when it matters.”  Because the demand for carrier presence and capabilities is not expected to decrease in the near term, reducing our carrier requirement and the size of our carrier fleet will not translate into savings or flexibility.  In fact, arbitrarily reducing our carrier fleet to 10 ships would place a larger burden on the remaining force and our military personnel by increasing the length of deployments, reducing our ships and sailors’ time at home, increasing the stress on our ships and the amount of maintenance they require, and increasing the stress on sailors and their families, potentially motivating them to leave the service.

An 11-carrier fleet is what our Navy and our Nation need.
  That’s why I am opposing an amendment to the national defense policy bill that would expose these valuable strategic assets to budget cuts, and could undermine America’s ability to respond to crises and deter conflict around the world.  I will keep you updated on the fight. Read More

Forbes: U.S. Engagement With China Must Be Based on Facts, Not Wishful Thinking


Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee and Co-Chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, released the following statement on the release of the Department of Defense’s 2015 China Military Power Report:

“This year’s report documents China’s continuing efforts to develop both anti-access and power projection capabilities through major investments in anti-ship and anti-air missiles, submarines, unmanned aerial vehicles, electronic warfare, space and cyberspace. Also concerning is the marked increase in ‘gray zone’ activities that seek to advance China’s territorial claims through militarized coercion. The report is a useful reminder to policymakers that U.S. military engagement with Beijing must be based on China’s behavior and capabilities as they really are--not what Washington wishes they would be.”

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Where is your money going at the UN?


Here’s a question for you to consider: Do you know what your taxpayer dollars are funding at the United Nations (UN)? You probably don’t – and you would probably have difficulty finding out. The reality is, the federal government doesn’t even have a full grasp on exactly how the UN is using its money.

The United States (and more accurately U.S. taxpayers) is the largest contributor to the United Nations. In the ten year span between 2002 and 2012, funding for the United Nations nearly tripled, from roughly $15 billion to $41.5 billion. According to the Heritage Foundation, on average the U.S. provided approximately one-fifth of the contributions for that time period.

The UN is a mammoth organization demanding mammoth funding levels. Within it, there are many distinct agencies, each with their own funding streams and their own objectives and activities. And, although the UN is subjected to audits in some cases, the organization is fraught with a history of scandal, corruption, and fraud. As such, the audits don’t always tell the whole story. Just last year, an Associated Press story detailed news that top officials within the UN tampered with evidence so as to prevent investigations into corruption cases.

Funding to the UN also largely operates in a “no-strings-attached” model. Dollars are appropriated to various agencies and funds with little accountability or understanding of how those dollars might be used. Because it’s difficult to trace the money, U.S. funding gets tied up in activities that are deeply opposed to our national interests. Taxpayer dollars, for instance, are believed to have been used in the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), which has been linked to China’s brutal one child policy.  U.S. contributions have also been used to fund conferences, some of which have become platforms to promote anti-democratic , anti-American values.

These are all matters we as a nation cannot afford to overlook.  The original charter of the UN seeks to maintain global peace and security, create opportunities for cooperation among nations, and promote basic human rights. Our nation has always stood for those values. Unfortunately, the UN has moved further away from those values.

The more of an investment you make in something, the greater the stakes become. The United States government has a responsibility to do its due diligence in making sure the UN’s intent is being carried through and that our national interests are not at risk. We have a responsibility to demand transparency and accountability, tracking dollars – even pulling funding when necessary.

In Congress, I’m working to shed light on the activities of the UN. We must make it a priority to implement vital reforms in our relationship with the UN to ensure that the American people know where and how their taxpayer dollars are being spent. Our government has a responsibility to ensure that money is not being wasted or spent contrary to U.S. interests.  We have an obligation to make certain that American sovereignty is never undermined.

H.R. 1034, a bill that I have cosponsored, requires a simple but commonsense action: that the Office of Management and Budget provide a report to Congress each year, detailing all U.S. contributions to the UN and its affiliated agencies. The report requires a detailed description and purpose of each contribution, as well as the percentage of U.S. contribution to each agency compared to contributions from other sources, like other nations. This adds a layer of accountability that has been grossly missing from the UN funding process.

Transparency and accountability in funding at the UN is an economic and spending issue, but it is also an issue of what is in the American people’s best interest. The U.S. should not be forced to support activities that are wholly opposed to our national interests and what we, as a nation, stand for.  America operates best when it is governed of the people, by the people, for the people – not of the people, by the people, for the United Nations.  Read More

The hero next door


Heroes are around us every day. Take Buzz, for example.

Serving as an Army Chaplain during the Vietnam War, Basil “Buzz” Ballard drove his jeep roughly 25,000 miles in one year to hold 11 worship services a week for service members in combat zones. It was the height of the war, and once Buzz found himself targeted and ambushed by the Viet Cong. He got away unhurt, however, and continued serving and supporting the soldiers far away from home in Vietnam.

That was his first deployment. Buzz’ entire career in the U.S. Army spanned 25 years, carrying him across the country and around the world — including Ft. Hood, Texas; Ft. Lewis, Washington; Germany; and Hawaii, to name a few. During those years, Buzz served in multiple roles, from jail chaplain to hospital chaplain, providing support, counsel, and prayers for our men and women in uniform and their families. Buzz was awarded the Bronze Star “for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Do you want to know something else about this American hero? He lives right around the corner. After retiring from the Army, Buzz served as the pastor of Windsor Christian Church for 12 years. Today, Buzz continues to call Windsor, Virginia “home.”

Buzz Ballard’s name may never be printed in the history books, but it is forever stamped in the hearts and minds of the men and women he served for 25 years. I’m proud of quiet American heroes like Buzz, who demonstrate for the rest of us what conviction and courageous dedication to duty look like. And I’m proud of what he represents: the countless other men and women in the line at the grocery store, pumping gas at the gas station, sitting next to us at church — the quiet heroes who sacrificed so much for so many years, that we might live in freedom.

We are grateful. But gratitude is not merely an emotion. Gratitude is an action word. It means working to provide veterans with the care they deserve. They did not wait to answer the call of duty; they should not have to wait to receive quality, timely medical care. Gratitude means supporting their families. It means helping our heroes find jobs. It means recognizing that while we can pay the men and women who wear this country’s uniform, we can never repay them. And gratitude means honoring the memories, telling the stories, saying thank you, reflecting on the heroes — right here at home — who served and fought for our freedom.

There is no question that, while we are a nation that is overwhelmingly grateful for our veterans’ service, our government has fallen short in its duty to support and serve those who served this country. Instead of providing the best our nation can offer, we see bureaucracy, backlogs, and blunders. But I believe Americans have a right to expect better from their government. That includes action steps like:

• Addressing the claims backlog at the VA. Until that happens and the backlog is cleared, VA employees should not be allowed to accept bonuses.

• Continuing to work to make quality care more accessible to our Veterans — building off the Veterans Choice Program.

• Refusing to place the burden of our fiscal challenges on the backs of our servicemembers; defense spending in support of our men and women in uniform is not the cause of our fiscal woes, and cutting the benefits earned by our brave service members is not the solution.

• Offering in-state tuition to our veterans regardless of where they live. The men and women who serve this nation did not just defend citizens of their own home states, but the citizens of all 50 states.

•Continuing to address post traumatic stress injuries. The number of veterans who have committed suicide or are homeless is a troubling factor that haunts far too many.

• Providing retirement pay and benefits as promised.

And perhaps, most importantly, we must make a commitment to asking ourselves — how can we better strengthen and empower our warriors after they return home? It’s a question that is constantly on my mind as I serve in Congress, work on legislation, and one that keeps me up at night. Defending our defenders has been, and will remain, one of my top priorities in the House of Representatives. Because how we treat our service members defines who we are as a nation.

At the end of the day, gratitude is about saying thank you — not just in words, but in actions. Whether it is a bill in Congress, a project by a community, or an act of recognition for the hero next door — it’s the least we can do for those who selflessly serve.

You can read the article here.

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Forbes: Defense Policy Bill Provides Stability to Hampton Roads Ship Repair Industrial Base


Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, applauded the release of the Chairman’s Mark to the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

         “This year’s defense bill undertakes substantive investments in new technologies while providing needed stability for the Hampton Roads industrial base,” Congressman Forbes said. “The bill fully funds ship repair, protects our public shipyard workers from unnecessary furloughs, and recognizes the importance of modeling and simulation to our warfighters.”
         Among the provisions contained in the Chairman’s Mark initiated by Congressman Forbes:

• Fully Funding Ship Repair Requirements. The mark fully supports the complete funding of the Navy’s ship repair requirements to meet the needs of critical Navy platforms and providing additional stability for the ship repair industrial base.

• Restricting the Overhaul and Repair of Vessels in Foreign Shipyards. The mark includes a provision prohibiting certain overhauls, repairs, and maintenance activities of U.S. Navy vessels in a foreign shipyard, thereby further strengthening the U.S. ship repair industrial base.

• Conducts Independent Report on Navy Contracting Structure. The mark directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the Navy’s proposed change from Multi-Ship/Multi-Option (MSMO) to Multiple Award Contract-Multi Order (MACMO) contracting. 

• Reducing Risk of Furloughs for Public Shipyard Workers. The mark protects public shipyard employees and other Defense Department workers paid through working-capital funds from the possibility of furloughs in the event of a government shutdown, providing needed stability for a critical component of the defense civilian workforce. 

• Investing in Cutting-Edge Undersea Technologies. Recognizing the importance of U.S. dominance in the undersea domain, Congressman Forbes will introduce an amendment investing in applied research supporting undersea warfare capabilities. This research will focus on cutting-edge acoustic detection and advanced sonar applications. 

• Recognizing the Value of Modeling & Simulation to National Defense. The mark notes the value added to our national defense by a robust emphasis on modeling and simulation, which provides our warfighters with important training capabilities to better protect U.S. national security. 

• Fully Funding Joint Information Operations Range. The mark funds the activities of the Joint Information Operations Range (JIOR) in Norfolk, Virginia, a critical training asset for cyberwarfare.  

• Supporting Commissary Benefits. The mark restores funding for commissaries for our men and women in uniform and recognizes the value of continuing to provide affordable retail options for our military families. 

Other key provisions in the NDAA Chairman’s Mark include:

• Seeking to Mitigate Strike Fighter Shortfall. The mark seeks to mitigate the shortfall in carrier strike fighter aircraft by authorizing procurement of critically-needed fighter assets to meet the demands of our Combatant Commanders.

• Undertaking Reform of the Military Acquisition System. The mark seeks to overhaul aspects of the Defense Department acquisition process by streamlining duplicative procedures, eliminating waste, fraud and abuse, encouraging greater accountability in the acquisition structure, and seeking to find savings for the American taxpayer. 

        Last week, the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee passed a Mark reflecting Congressman Forbes’ Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force priorities. That mark can be found here.

About the National Defense Authorization Act

        The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 authorizes the enactment of appropriations for DoD programs and initiatives while setting forth priorities, organizational structure, and responsibilities of program and agency officials.  The bill consists of portions, or marks, written and approved by each Subcommittee.  The full Armed Services Committee is considering the legislation, including proposed amendments, and will vote to report the bill for consideration before the House of Representatives. Upon passage, the bill is then sent to the senate. Typically after the Senate passes its version of the legislation, Members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees conference to reconcile differences and agree upon a final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which will be sent to the President for his signature. Read More

Press Release: National Association of Manufactures Recognizes Forbes


Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) was awarded the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence, which recognizes Members of Congress whose voting records support creating jobs, strengthening manufacturing, and lighting up the economy. The event was hosted by Smithfield Foods on April 20, 2015. 

“Our manufacturing base is a powerful foundation in our national economy,” said Congressman Forbes. “As manufacturing grows, it spurs job creation and innovation in other industries through a multiplier effect. In Virginia’s Fourth District alone, our manufacturing industry employs thousands of people in steady, good paying jobs. One of my priorities in Congress is ensuring this important industry isn’t hamstrung by overly heavy burdens placed on it by the federal government, as well as positioning the Fourth District to continue to grow as a leader in the manufacturing space -- in turn, fueling our national economy and setting ourselves up for global competitiveness.”
Congressman Forbes was honored with this award based on his voting record on important manufacturing issues, ranging from energy to federal regulations. His rating from NAM is an outstanding 100 percent on key manufacturing votes in the 113th Congress.
The Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence is given to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate who have demonstrated an excellent understanding of manufacturing’s key role in our economy and society through their voting records. The voting records were based on NAM’s positions on Key Manufacturing Votes. The National Association of Manufacturers is the United States’ largest industrial trade association, as well as the leading manufacturers association, and represents manufacturers of all sizes in all 50 states and every industrial sector. For more information, visit http://www.nam.org/.


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Does America have a cyber plan?


Today, the Internet is the new frontier in which Americans live, play, and conduct business. With this new realm comes both incredible potential for new opportunities, as well as a host of new challenges. Information is exchanged at the speed of light, but boundaries are elusive -- not the least of which is safeguarding privacy while simultaneously protecting Americans from the 21st century threats of terrorism.

From the beginning, we’ve attempted to build our cybersecurity approach with siloed objectives. Here are three: We must protect privacy; we have to maintain our international competitiveness; we have to ensure safe browsing by making cybersecurity a core part of our national security strategy. We’ve traditionally treated these as three mutually exclusive issues each with their own intricacies and challenges.

Unfortunately, this approach is ineffective. The Internet, by its nature, is interconnected – as must be our cybersecurity objectives. We cannot address one without addressing the other. That is why, as we build a stronger cybersecurity framework, we need to understand the interplay between these issues in the context of the massive cyber challenges we face today.

It begins with a proper understanding of the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment guarantees that, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” Americans’ right to security cannot come at the cost of their constitutional right to privacy.  While our government has a responsibility to protect Americans from cybercriminals and terrorist organizations who abuse the capabilities of the internet to invoke harm on Americans and our allies across the globe, we cannot do it at the expense of public trust. That is why any cybersecurity related framework must have the Fourth Amendment as its core guiding principle. If the government fails here – for example, by becoming intrusive and disrespectful of the American people's fundamental rights and liberties – then we cannot achieve our objectives.

Secondly, creating a stronger cybersecurity framework involves understanding the threats we face. Cybercriminals are evolving every day and challenging the latest cybersecurity technologies faster than ever before, obtaining valuable information such as health records, social security numbers, and credit cards.  Individual hackers can invoke data driven damage and cause a state of alarm. State-sponsored attacks – those originating with foreign governments – offer a new form of warfare, however, deadly in the way they can exploit government agencies, critical infrastructure, and public facing companies. That is why it is crucial that we are equipping law enforcement and our military with the tools they need to fight cyber threats and adequately protect citizens.

Another core pillar in creating a multi-faceted cybersecurity strategy must be ensuring local, city, and state governments are prepared for, and protected against, attacks. The Sony cyber attack last year, which many speculated was sponsored by North Korea, gives us a glimpse into one of the many types of attacks that may be executed when unpredictable states feel provoked. At the government level, we also learned the White House and the State Department’s networks were more than likely penetrated by sophisticated Russian hackers.  Unfortunately, government agencies and many companies are still not fully prepared to defend against such attacks, leaving our government and economy incredibly vulnerable.

However, while we equip our law enforcement, government, and military to guard against cyber attacks, citizens must also be equipped to protect themselves and their families. This includes access to educational tools to recognize cybercrime and safeguard against it. Simple steps like regularly changing and creating diverse and elaborate passwords for online accounts,  securing home Wi-Fi networks, and securing sensitive data from phishers will be increasingly important as we move into the future, not only to personal safety but also to our collective society and economy. The more connected we become, the more important individual responsibility becomes in securing personal information.

Finally, in creating a framework to protect consumers and address cyber attacks, a key component must be facilitating businesses to share cyber threat information to ensure a safe and secure cyberspace that protects intellectual property, trade secrets, and consumers from hackers and other bad actors. Although measuring our competitiveness in terms of economics, trade, and R&D will continue to hold true, our competitiveness will also depend on a globally open internet, where the movement of data across borders is uninterrupted and uncensored.

While it may seem like America’s debates over cyber are crowded with competing goals – protecting privacy, ensuring international competitiveness, and providing for national security – the reality is these goals are not mutually exclusive.

Cybersecurity isn’t about meeting one and moving to the next.  Our aim should be a cybersecurity framework that pushes us to address these challenges simultaneously and seamlessly. This month, the House of Representatives voted on a collection of bills aimed at moving the needle in cyber security preparedness. The bills address issues like allowing the private sector and federal government to share cyber threat information, and providing liability protections for private companies who share cybersecurity information. These are important steps, but we must do more. We need to create a cybersecurity framework to adapt to the changing landscape, take a proactive posture, ensure our security, and - most importantly - reassure all Americans that our rights are being respected.  Read More

Forbes: Defense Bill Supports Third Offset Initiative Goals, Seeks to Improve Military Balance in Asia-Pacific


Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, applauded the release of the Chairman’s Mark to the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

“This year’s defense bill makes substantive investments, in the spirit of the Defense Department’s Third Offset Strategy Initiative, to sustain America’s technological advantage in the years ahead,” Congressman Forbes said. “I believe that the Asia-Pacific region will be an area of tremendous economic, political and military activity in the 21st century. This bill seeks to provide the resources, now and in the future, needed to maintain a stable military balance that will deter conflict and secure the interests of the United States and its allies.”

Below are provisions contained in the Chairman’s Mark initiated by Congressman Forbes and amendments the Congressman will offer to that mark before the full Armed Services Committee:

• Invests in Cutting-Edge Undersea Technologies. Recognizing the importance of U.S. dominance in the undersea domain, Congressman Forbes will introduce an amendment investing an additional $60 million in applied research in the development of advanced undersea payloads, including novel weapons  and submarine-launched unmanned underwater and air vehicles.

• Supports Future Role for Land-Based Anti-Ship Missiles. Consistent with the Congressman’s longstanding support, the mark directs the Defense Department to study the utility of fielding mobile, land-based anti-ship missiles as a means of projecting power from the land into other domains.

• Expresses Support for the U.S.-Japan Alliance. Congressman Forbes will introduce an amendment that recognizes the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance to global security, supports Japan’s collective self-defense policy and the recently released U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines, and reaffirms the U.S. commitment to defending Japanese sovereignty and promoting stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

• Prohibits Premature Destruction of U.S. Landmine Stockpiles. Congressman Forbes will introduce an amendment prohibiting the Defense Department from destroying the U.S. arsenal of mines until alternatives to those mines have been developed and operationally fielded. It also requires the Secretary of Defense to certify that replacing those mines with alternatives will not endanger U.S. personnel or allies like the Republic of Korea. 

• Recognizes Importance of U.S.-Philippines Defense Cooperation. The mark notes the critical importance of the U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines and supports further enhancements in U.S.-Philippines defense cooperation, as well as the rotational deployment of U.S. forces to the Philippines and assistance in the modernizing of the Philippine military.

• Seeks to Mitigate Strike Fighter Shortfall. The mark seeks to mitigate the shortfall in carrier strike fighter aircraft by authorizing procurement of critically-needed fighter assets to meet the demands of our Combatant Commanders.

• Requests an Intellectual Property Strategy For Defense Acquisition. The mark requires an intellectual property strategy for each major Defense Department acquisition program to incentivize commercial technology companies to enter the defense sector. Pursuant to the Third Offset Strategy Initiative, Silicon Valley has an integral role to play in ensuring U.S. technological advantages in the years ahead. 

      Last week, the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee passed a Mark reflecting Congressman Forbes’ Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force priorities. That mark can be found here.

About the National Defense Authorization Act

        The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 authorizes the enactment of appropriations for DoD programs and initiatives while setting forth priorities, organizational structure, and responsibilities of program and agency officials.  The bill consists of portions, or marks, written and approved by each Subcommittee.  The full Armed Services Committee is considering the legislation, including proposed amendments, and will vote to report the bill for consideration before the House of Representatives. Upon passage, the bill is then sent to the senate. Typically after the Senate passes its version of the legislation, Members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees conference to reconcile differences and agree upon a final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which will be sent to the President for his signature.
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Contact Information

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Committee Assignments

Armed Services


Placed prominently on the wall of Congressman Randy Forbes’ Washington office is a framed copy of the Declaration of Independence surrounded by portraits of the fifty-six founding fathers who signed the document asserting our nation’s freedom. Frequently when Randy is in our nation’s capital, he can be found personally escorting constituents through his office to tell the story of how this powerful document and its signatories serve as reminder of the sacrifices that were made during birth of our nation and the weight of responsibility on elected officials to preserve the freedom for which so many have fought and died.

Since his constituents elected him to Congress in 2001, one of Randy’s key priorities has been to protect and defend our nation. As Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Randy is responsible for the research, development, acquisition, and sustainment of Navy and Marine Corps programs as well as the Air Force’s bomber and tanker fleets. Randy’s position is central in developing the nation’s long-term strategies to meet our future security needs. As a result of his work on behalf of our military, in 2009, Randy became one of only a few individuals to have been honored with the highest civilian award offered by both the United States Army and the United States Navy.

In a time of broken government and stale ideas, Randy has focused on legislative solutions that have proven to be refreshing alternative to the status quo. His much-hailed New Manhattan Project for Energy led the Wall Street Journal to ask: “Why is Randy Forbes all alone? … The surprising thing is that there aren’t 100 Randy Forbes out there, issuing similar calls to arms to seize this moment and finally cure the country’s oil addiction.” The Virginian Pilot, similarly, commented: “Outrage won’t solve the nation’s energy troubles, or safeguard jobs. For that, you need something else, something Forbes is displaying: Leadership.”

Randy has rejected Washington political rhetoric and has instead focused on solutions-based leadership to tackle issues such as economic recovery, health care, tax reform and government spending. In health care, Randy has introduced proposals to protect seniors and individuals with preexisting conditions from health insurance cancellation, to harness the potential in ethical stem-cell research, and to double the investment the federal government is making in research to cure diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. His work has earned him the award, “Guardian of Seniors’ Rights.” In addition, Randy has introduced legislation to improve efficiency in government agencies, and he has been named a “Hero of Taxpayers”. Instead of abandoning sound fiscal policy in the face of economic challenge, Randy was one of only 17 Members of Congress to vote against each stimulus and bailout package under both the Bush and Obama Administrations.

Randy founded and chairs the Congressional Prayer Caucus and has led this group of bipartisan Members in national efforts to protect prayer and our nation’s spiritual history. He is known as a skilled orator on the Judiciary Committee and, as the former Ranking Member of the Crime Subcommittee, Randy is often called upon to lead the debate on national issues such as gang crime or immigration reform. As founder and chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, Randy has introduced legislation to combat Chinese espionage and is frequently tapped as a national commentator on Sino-American relations. Groups as diverse as the US Chamber of Commerce, the NAACP, the National Taxpayers Union, and the American Farm Bureau Federation have all recognized the work Randy has done in Congress – a testament to Randy’s independent problem-solving and focus on bipartisan solutions.

While Randy’s legislative proposals have received significant national and local attention, Randy’s commitment to improving quality of life for his constituents has been the hallmark of his career in Congress. Randy places a high-priority on partnering with community leaders and elected officials of all political persuasions to bring about greater economic prosperity, increased educational opportunities, safer communities, and improved local transportation and infrastructure for the Fourth District. His work to position Fort Lee through the last BRAC round led to the arrival of nearly 12,000 jobs in the Chesterfield/Tri-Cities area and his work as founder and chairman of the Congressional Modeling & Simulation Caucus has elevated Hampton Roads as a premier destination for high-paying tech jobs.

Working in Washington has not changed Randy’s enthusiasm for serving those that elected him. Richmond Times Dispatch noted Randy has “earned a reputation for constituent service” for his ability to cut through red tape and for his unparalleled constituent communications. Randy publishes a weekly email newsletter with over 85,000 subscribers that includes commentary and as well as factual information on the issues before Congress.

Randy has long worked under the belief that transparency is a key condition of good government. In addition to his unparalleled work to inform and solicit input from his constituents, Randy was one of the first members of Congress to publish appropriations requests to his website, causing the Richmond Times Dispatch to call him, “an admirable example for openness.” His website was selected by the Congressional Management Foundation as one of the best websites in Congress and was specifically commended for offering constituents a “clear understanding of his work in Congress”.

A life-long resident of Virginia, Randy began his career in private law practice helping small and medium-sized businesses and ultimately became a partner in the largest law firm in southeastern Virginia. From 1989-2001, he served the Commonwealth of Virginia in the General Assembly. As a member of the House of Delegates, he served 7 years, quickly establishing himself and serving as the Floor Leader until his election to the State Senate in 1997. One year later, he became the Senate Floor Leader. He served in the State Senate for 3 1/2 years, until his election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Randy graduated from Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake in 1970. He was valedictorian of his 1974 class at Randolph-Macon College. In 1977, Randy graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Randy attends Great Bridge Baptist Church, where he has taught adult Sunday school for over 20 years. He was born and raised in Chesapeake, Virginia where he still resides with his wife Shirley. He and Shirley have been married since 1978 and have four children: Neil, Jamie, Jordan, and Justin.

Serving With

Rob Wittman


Scott Rigell


Robert Hurt


Bob Goodlatte


Dave Brat


Morgan Griffith


Barbara Comstock


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