Navy official sheds light on spending

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Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy Juan Garcia said the Navy’s large presence in Japan for relief, the American and European attacks on Libya and the continued burden of the Iraq War are proof of the branch’s continued relevance and necessity. About 100 people at the Texas Union came to hear Garcia speak as part of Navy Week when, in cities nationwide, members of the Navy work to show taxpayers the return on their investment, he said. The sailors will build homes for Habitat for Humanity, work in soup kitchens and visit hospitals and schools. “It couldn’t be a more timely week to come and tell the Navy story,” he said. “As we sit in this room on this beautiful campus, there are 22 Navy ships and a nuclear aircraft carrier off the coast of Japan doing disaster relief.” At the same time, he said, five Navy ships and two nuclear submarines are off the coast of Libya leading the international coalition to prevent the slaughter of civilians. The Navy also conducts research on global warming in the Arctic Ocean and provides medical care in poor countries. They send doctors to offer medical care, such as cleft surgeries and eyeglasses. He said this is in the interest of national security as well as humanitarian efforts because those shown the sympathy of the nation are more easily convinced that we are there to help. The International Speakers Association, who center around bringing people of international significance to UT to help students connect with the world, sponsored the event, said coordinator Sorit Ganguly. Ganguly said a large portion of the turnout were junior and senior members of the ROTC. Plan II senior Dane Miller said he attended in light of recent events in Libya that involve the Navy. “I view the navy as an important engine for economic growth,” he said. “I don’t think we should be making cuts.” French senior Peter Antosh said he was interested to see exactly what the Navy was doing. “I always want to see what America is up to,” he said. “I want to see how my future earnings will be spent.”