Rep. Barletta introduces bill that could establish joint Army-Navy storage and preservation facility in Carlisle
WASHINGTON – Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, introduced a bill that could help establish a joint Army-Navy storage and preservation facility at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) in Carlisle.
The Joint Military Heritage Preservation Act of 2012 (H.R. 6595) would require a Department of Defense study of the feasibility of bringing a portion of the Navy’s historical collections to USAHEC and creating a joint Army-Navy storage and preservation facility.
“I had the privilege of touring the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center earlier this year, and I was very impressed by the state-of-the-art preservation techniques and capabilities the center provides. Historical U.S. Navy documents need to be saved and protected for future generations, so moving them to AHEC – a facility that is clearly capable of doing those things – makes a lot of sense. I’m pleased to work with Senators Toomey and Casey on legislation that aims to preserve these vital military history collections and expand the role of the Army Heritage and Education Center,” Rep. Barletta said.
Last week, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. Senate; Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is an original co-sponsor. Representatives Bill Shuster (PA-9) and Todd Platts (PA-19) are original co-sponsors of Rep. Barletta’s House bill.
“The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is ideally suited for this mission. This facility in Carlisle already has the technology, capability, staff and knowledge to help the Navy better preserve its documents and history,” Sen. Toomey said. “I thank Sen. Casey and Rep. Barletta for joining me in supporting this bipartisan measure, and I hope my fellow members of Congress will join us to preserve our precious military history collections and educate future generations about the sacrifices our service members and veterans have made to protect our freedoms.”
According to a report by the U.S. Naval Inspector General, the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, D.C., does not adequately store and protect historic documents and records. A January 2012 article in the Navy Times described the command as “beset with preservation problems and internal strife,” stating that, “Consequently, the history and heritage of the United States Navy is in jeopardy.”
For example, the archives are stored in a 19th-century building that is not designed for the long-term care of historical records. Many of the command’s historic documents and photos are deteriorating from mold and mildew. Also, the backlog of unprocessed artifacts and papers will take an estimated 644 man-years to process.
Rep. Barletta added, “Based on the problems uncovered in the inspector general’s report, it is very clear that we need to take quick action to save these historical treasures. I truly believe that the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is the best location for the naval archives because it has the technology, the facilities, and the staff for the job.”
U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is the U.S. Army's preeminent museum and research complex. It is dedicated to educating and preserving the legacy of the men and women who have served as soldiers.
The naval archives house artifacts going back to the days of the Continental Navy. Its 112 employees oversee an extensive collection of naval art, ship histories dating back to 1775, all 12 Navy museums throughout the country, “operational archives” of reports and orders since 1946, and a voluminous photo collection.