Navy, Marine Corps Working to Replace and Improve Current Installations
By JAMES PETERSON, Editorial Assistant
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Navy and Marine Corps leaders talked about their recent focus on improving installations readiness and the challenges those changes bring for older bases, during the Department of the Navy Energy, Installations and Environment panel at the Sea-Air-Space Exposition April 10.
The panel members reinforced their desire to improve their branches’ current wartime readiness, whether that be through improving ports, bases, training zones, housing, recreational or other facilities.
Vice Adm. Mary Jackson, commander of Navy Installations Command, and Dr. Todd Calhoun, deputy commander of Marine Corps Installations Command, in particular expressed the Navy and Marine Corps’ desire for installations of be a part of the readiness equation.
“It’s easy to say ‘just break down the barriers.’ But we really need to break down the barriers,” Jackson said, “whether that means cleaning up our own policies, or it means perhaps changing law and working through the secretary on how to do that.”
“Our first priority is to protect united installations including Marines and Sailors within the wartime effort every day,” Calhoun said. “We’re working now to address a range of potential vulnerabilities — some old, some new.”
However, that’s easier said than done, as Calhoun pointed out. He estimates a growing backlog of roughly $9 billion for replacements and repairs.
“That’s a significant challenge for any institute, certainly the Marine Corps,” he said.
Both Jackson and Calhoun mentioned how difficult it will be going forward to replace buildings while they are in use. However, it remains their goal to “get out of the old stuff,” and they are confident they can accomplish it.
“On the shore, we impact an awful lot of people,” Jackson said. “We touch all the warfare enterprises, all the fleets, the mission of all of our tenants, the Sailors, the service members, the civilians. ... We touch a lot of people’s lives. I’m very proud of the work we do. There’s work to be done with opportunity, and I’m super excited about it.”