News

Bangor, Bremerton bases might merge

Washington Gov. Gary Locke made a whirlwind visit to several Kitsap County Navy bases late last week. On Friday, Locke (at left) made a visit to Naval Submarine Base Bangor north of Silverdale and was accompanied by Rear Adm. Mel Williams, commander of Naval Submarine Group Nine, and, at far right, State Rep. Beverly Woods, R-Poulsbo. - Photo by Johnson Controls
Washington Gov. Gary Locke made a whirlwind visit to several Kitsap County Navy bases late last week. On Friday, Locke (at left) made a visit to Naval Submarine Base Bangor north of Silverdale and was accompanied by Rear Adm. Mel Williams, commander of Naval Submarine Group Nine, and, at far right, State Rep. Beverly Woods, R-Poulsbo.
— image credit: Photo by Johnson Controls

It was a no-brainer, really.

Two vital Kitsap County Navy bases have been operating as separate entities from the day they opened.

Why not merge the four-year-old Naval Station Bremerton and 26-year-old Naval Submarine Base Bangor into one super-base with a new name and two annexes.

Because it could save money on command redundancies, Navy top brass are considering the idea. They claim it will save millions of dollars per year in efficiencies to put both bases — about eight miles apart — under one administration.

If approved, about 40 military and civilian jobs would be eliminated.

Rear Adm. Len Hering, commanding officer of Navy Region Northwest, said the Navy is considering eliminating the command at Naval Station Bremerton and placing it under the Bangor command.

The overall command will go to Bangor because of its superior and long-standing infrastructure, said Lt. Anne Cossitt, assistant public affairs officer for Navy Region Northwest. Subase Bangor came into existence in February 1977.

The marriage will likely be known as Naval Base Kitsap, with annexes at Bremerton and Bangor, said Hering.

Although no one other than command staff are being looked at as being laid off, the Navy will continue to examine redundancies in the formerly separate bases. That could lead to layoffs in the future.

“Our Navy has been experiencing change at a tremendous rate over the last few years,” Hering said. “From the Pentagon to the deckplates, we are having to reassess the way we do the Navy’s business.”

Never before has the need to become efficient and effective been so paramount, he added.

He said the change is closely related to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark’s vision.

This vision, called Sea Power 21, sees the Navy as having the technology, agility, firepower and people to meet challenges of the 21st Century, said Hering.

“What this comes down to is providing our sailors and Marines with the tools to fight a war and win,” he said.

Overall, the Navy’s goal is to save about $10 billion per year to build up the fleet.

Bangor’s submariners and Bremerton’s surface-ship sailors are different kettles of fish, but top brass see no complications arising.

Layoffs won’t occur until 2004 — mostly from the Navy. DoD and the Navy will assist personnel in finding new positions.

The proposal is still being reviewed by the Secretary of the Navy. The Navy is reportedly trying to save the $40 billion over the next four years to add to the current 295 ships.

The possible merger action is separate from the Pentagon’s base realignment and closures (BRAC) being considered by Congress in 2005.

Overall, the Navy’s goal is to save about $10 billion per year to build up the fleet.

“We need to continue to determine what changes make sense for this region. We need to look at adopting models that have proven successful elsewhere, Hering said. “We must all be prepared to embrace the challenges associated with creating the very best and most cost-effective organization possible.”

EMAIL NEWSLETTERS

Latest news, top stories, and community events,
delivered to your inbox.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Sep 26 edition online now. Browse the archives.