to the boats: better communications, longer range and
better night capability, for example. We are developing
upgrades for our current boats as well as future boats.
We want to bring in battery-powered, tactical,
marinized unmanned aerial vehicles that we can launch
from boats and will land in water to provide good gim-balized ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) to search a radar contact from the shore. The initial search will not be done by a boat and a crew.
We’re working with unmanned surface vehicles in the
same way, and we’re working on unmanned underwater
vehicles with respect to our EOD and very-shallow-water
mine threat in harbor security and force protection.
The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command
and others are developing our expeditionary command-and-control center. We’re also trying to integrate new
force protection capabilities and technology into our
Do you see your forces supporting Global
Fleet Stations — mobile sea bases that reach
into the littorals and rivers — in the future?
BULLARD: One of the concepts for the Global Fleet
Station is to assist and provide persistence in theater
security cooperation. Part of that task is building relationships and increasing the capability of some of our
partner nations in maritime security operations. We
are working with the naval component commanders
(the commanders of the naval forces in a joint command) to provide a series of maritime training teams in
maritime security operations. This summer we’ll be
fielding numerous training teams in support of mission requirements in numerous countries.
D. KEVIN ELLIOTT
mobilized reserves; they are truly committed and we
couldn’t do without them. The Seabees are doing a full
spectrum of missions in Iraq both in support of our
troops and the Iraqi military.
Is the EOD community able to meet the
demand of operations in Iraq?
BULLARD: The EOD force is the highest op-tempo
force we have, with many members doing multiple
deployments in a very high-stress environment.
They’re making a difference, rendering safe at an amazing rate improvised explosive devices that would otherwise kill our own forces or Iraqi citizens. They’re a
bunch of heroes, as far as I’m concerned.
Have the Seabees recovered from Hurricane
BULLARD: They were key to the success of the first
responders. They were able to bring the [Naval
Construction Battalion Center] at Gulfport, Miss.,
online to support our own force and families and help
the civilian community in Gulfport. Today, the Seabees
are in a full training and deployment mode and supporting deployments around the world. The Seabees have a
high op-tempo in Iraq and elsewhere. That includes the
Does NECC capitalize heavily on the reserve
BULLARD: About 50 percent. This command is, I
think, a model of active-reserve integration. The
reserves in almost all areas have the same capabilities
as the active force. A lot of the key competencies to
NECC, such as our naval cargo handler battalions, are
in the reserves. Our main expertise in naval coastal
warfare is in the reserves as we build our active force.
Well above 80 percent of all reserves have been mobilized to go do a mission somewhere. I don’t say active
or reserve sailor; they’re all expeditionary sailors to me
because I see them in the same light.
What is a top budget concern of the NECC?
BULLARD: Because we’ve been a high tempo of operations for a few years, we’re wearing out our equipment
at a faster rate than was programmed and we need to
reset the force. The Navy has provided for those estimates in the fiscal 2007 supplemental budget. ■