Quality-of-life improvements are key elements of the
overall Shore Vision 2035 basing plan. Vice Adm. Robert
T. Conway Jr., commander, Navy Installations Command,
says he would like to see the Navy become one of the top
50 best places to work in the United States.
determined to ensure that warfighting commands —
carrier strike group staffs, for example — are located
near the ships they command.
“Our habit pattern in the last several decades, when
a building opened up, [was] not giving a lot of thought
to what was going in there,” Boensel said. “We didn’t
give a lot of thought to the placement of that activity.”
Supply warehouses and depots would be located in
a logistics zone.
Navy exchanges, commissaries, medical facilities and
family service centers, as well as barracks and family housing, might be located to make access easy and reduce the
security requirements of personnel entering and leaving.
This concept already has been in practice for more than 20
years at some bases, such as Naval Station Norfolk.
“We want to reset the infrastructure on a base in a
way that we can enclave the [facilities] we need to be
concerned about, and open other areas of the base that
have less risk involved,” Boensel said. “We are always
challenged in the amount of resources we dedicate to
security — both money and manpower — particularly
as we support the global war on terrorism.”
The GSIP is not related to the Base Realignment and
Closure (BRAC) process, a congressionally mandated and
approved program to reshape the nation’s military infrastructure. But the Navy realizes the potential political sensitivity of even minor infrastructure changes at its bases.
“In this town [Washington], if it is something like
that that has some type of impact within that community, with jobs or whatever … it’ll elicit some type of
emotion, politically,” Conway said. “We’re looking
more at enclaving in this zoning scheme.”
Because no two bases are identical in terms of function and facilities, the zoning concept might apply differently at each base. An inland supply base, such as
Mechanicsburg, Pa., would not require a zone for operational facilities such as waterfront piers.
The Navy’s vision for its bases is not simply a matter of functionality and economics. It also embraces
quality of life, an environment that is conducive to
working and something to induce pride. Conway
would like Sailors and civilians to show up for work in
the morning and not have to face leaking roofs and
buckets catching the leaks.
Conway would like to see the Navy become one of
the top 50 best places to work in the United States. He
said fitness centers currently are a big quality-of-life
issue because many are old and need updating. Child-care centers also are a concern.
Conway said there are approximately 80,000 Navy
dependent children under the age of 5, of which 45,000
use Navy child-care centers. A demand exists for approximately 8,000 slots, a deficit that may grow.
“We have a tremendous number of single parents
that require this,” he said. “In some of the fleet concentration areas, we are thinking about and/or executing
24/7/365 child care. We’re going to start with a pilot
program to take a look at it.”
Conway sees the Shore Vision as a perfect fit for
future joint basing.
Boensel noted the upcoming BRAC-mandated
administration of the Army’s Fort Story in Virginia
Beach under Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in
Norfolk as an example of the joint basing of the future.
“We’re leading the path for the larger joint basing
effort,” Boensel said.
Base changes likely will be somewhat disruptive to
“Ultimately, this will be positive for them,” Boensel
said. “At the end of the day, what we’re trying to do is
spend the right amount of money on the right stuff. …
And the conditions for everybody will improve based
“I watched the pictures of Pearl Harbor and World
War II,” Conway said. “It looked the same to me [as it
did when I was there]. Why do we have all this stuff?
Over the years, we’ve kept so much stuff that it’s not
affordable anymore. If the single Sailor or the family is
being impacted, or worse yet, the warfighting capabilities, it makes sense that we transform ourselves.”
“This is a huge opportunity to do a reset on our bases
for the first time since World War II, to take a real hard
look at our installations and put things in place where
they ought to be for today,” Boensel said. ■