e-News 10/26/2018

Secretary of the Army Visits Picatinny Arsenal
My Longstanding work with the Army Corps of Engineers
Salute: Harry Ettlinger, a Monumental Man

Secretary of the Army Visits Picatinny Arsenal

Yesterday, I was pleased to welcome the Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, to Picatinny Arsenal.  In a letter earlier this year, I invited Secretary Esper to visit the Arsenal to gain a better understanding of how this vital installation contributes to the strategic readiness of the Army as well as the Navy, Marines and our Special Forces.

I have been privileged to represent the men and women of Picatinny Arsenal for almost 24 years in Congress.  Every time I pass through the Cannon Gates I learn about another technological marvel the scientists, engineers and technicians here discovered and fielded to our warfighters to ensure we maintain our advantage against our adversaries on the battlefield. I am pleased Secretary Esper was able to see, firsthand, this tremendous institution and its critically important work.

Secretary Esper and I were accompanied by Brigadier General Alfred Abramson, Commander Picatinny Arsenal and PEO Ammunition and Mr. John Hedderich, Director US Army Armament Research and Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC).  We received presentations on a sampling of technologies, including several lethality integration efforts that Picatinny develops and manages for the Department of Defense.

Picatinny is designated the Joint Center of Excellence for Guns and Ammunition, providing products and services to all branches of the U.S. military. The Arsenal provides 90 percent of the Army's lethality and also works closely with the Navy, Marines, Air Force, our special operations community and the armed forces of partner nations.


My Longstanding work with the Army Corps of Engineers  

When I was sworn into Congress 24 years ago, I was honored to be selected by my colleagues to serve on the Appropriations Committee, which included being placed on the Energy and Water Subcommittee.  Throughout the vast majority of my tenure in Congress, I served on this critical subcommittee, becoming the Ranking Member (2007-2010) and eventually the Chairman (2011-2014).  Even today, as my responsibilities have broadened considerably as Chairman of the full Appropriations Committee, I take special interest in the work done by the subcommittee and its excellent Chairman, Mike Simpson (ID).  

The Subcommittee has the all-important responsibility for funding the Department of Energy (DOE), including our vital military and civilian nuclear energy programs, as well as, the Army Corps of Engineers.  Through my 24 years of work on this committee my guiding principal was “what can I do for New Jersey.” Each and every year, our annual spending bills supported Corps projects that protect New Jersey communities and help grow our state’s economy.

As you may know, the responsibilities of the Army Corps of Engineers include protecting our nation from natural disasters and responding when emergencies occur, while also maintaining our infrastructure and navigable waterways like ports, rivers and harbors, developing recreational sites and promoting environmental stewardship.

As one of New Jersey’s only members on the Appropriations Committee, I worked hand in hand with the entire New Jersey delegation, regardless of political party, to provide funding for critical Corps projects across the state. I met regularly with other members and their constituencies to learn about these projects, as well as, hosting the Commanders of both the Philadelphia and New York Districts, and Corps leadership in Washington, to receive updates on their progress in our state.

In no other time was my bipartisan cooperation with the members of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation, as well as, delegations from the surrounding states, more important than in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

We all remember how Superstorm Sandy destroyed entire neighborhoods, left thousands homeless and created a path of destruction that we are still recovering from. But, the New Jersey Delegation, banded together, rallying support from across the entire Congress to approve the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act in 2013, which included the “Frelinghuysen Amendment,” increasing spending in the bill by $33 billion to help immediately respond to the disaster and sustain a long-term recovery in New Jersey and New York.

The funds included in my amendment and other annual appropriations bills are being used to complete a tremendous amount of work that will lower the storm risk for many communities. This includes support for dozens of beach and flood control projects from Cape May to Sandy Hook, as well as a number of projects along the Passaic River Basin in northern New Jersey.

Another, example of the historic and bipartisan work to benefit our state includes my 20 year effort to complete the Harbor Deepening Project at the Port of New York and New Jersey.  Largely through my efforts on the Energy and Water Subcommittee, the federal government provided close to $900 million to deepen the channels through the port to 50 feet allowing the newest generation of container cargo ships to access our region, ensuring the port maintains its vital role as an economic engine providing thousands of jobs and creating billions of dollars.

You can learn more about the great work that is being done by the Corps in our state by visiting the New York District website here and the Philadelphia District website here.


Salute: Harry Ettlinger, a Monumental Man

This week, we pay a fond farewell to Harry Ettlinger, formally of Rockaway Township.  A friend of long standing, that I met years ago as a ‘patron’ member of the Jewish War Veterans (JWV), Harry Ettlinger, never told me over numerous, riotously funny breakfasts of our Leon E. Cones JWV Post, of his status as a ‘Monument Man’.

When he did, he downplayed his role, but showed me an old photograph of him in uniform by a cave that he had saved, which figured prominently in the recent book by Robert Edsel (my inscribed copy is at the Morris County Library, a gift).

He had a funny, sparkling sense of humor, and when I asked him over twenty years of lox and bagels, of his critical role of saving some of the world’s most valuable art treasures from destruction by the Nazis, or theft from others who knew where they were hidden, he said he was just doing his job. A most ‘unusual job,’ he said!

He is indeed a monumental figure who will never be forgotten!

You can read more about Harry’s remarkable life in the Daily Record article here.