“And we’re building a base
with physical security already in
mind, so I don’t have to put temporary solutions out for security
forces. We currently are working
on the AT Plan — Anti-Terrorism
Plan — and I’m working with
[Naval Support Facility] Deveselu
[Romania] on that because we’re
going to be very similar to them.
We are working on preplanned
responses for our security forces,”
Starting a new command from
the ground up means establishing
a lot of administrative programs,
such as physical readiness, sexual
assault prevention, and others.
“The region provides me a great
product, and then we adapt that for
our base. I take the echelon 3 guid-
ance from the region and modify
it to match this base, which is an
echelon 4 command.”
Gilbert said his expertise has
been beneficial to the region and
its bases, but he said 6490 com-
mander billets have now been
funded at all the regions.
“Rear Adm. [Rick] Williamson
[commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest
Asia] will tell you his No. 1 priority is security of the
bases, the assets and the personnel on the bases,”
Gilbert said. “Every meeting I go to … ‘What’s my No. 1
priority?’ And everyone says, ‘safety and security of
the base.’ So bases are operational functions. We’re not
really admin anymore — we’re operational. But we can’t
perform the mission if we are not safe and secure.”
Delivering Combat Capability
Williamson is responsible for managing the Navy’s
installations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
That huge territory includes bases in Spain, Italy,
Romania, Greece, Bahrain, Djibouti and Poland, and
supports three different combatant commanders.
Williamson said that installations are force multipliers
to maximize combat capability of operational units.
“We provide the combatant commander different
capabilities,” he said. “Instead of programs, we support
missions. We view our bases as operational platforms.”
As a surface warfare officer for more than 30 years,
and now as a shore regional commander responsible
for eight installations, Williamson compares his job to
that of a strike group commander.
“The installations are our platforms. Our installa-
tions deliver a combat capability. The image of a ship’s
deck house planted in the ground provides the best
concept of how I view the installations in this region,”
Williamson said. “They are operational platforms with
a capability only the Navy can provide, and this is done
from the shore.”
Gilbert agrees that the analogy of the region com-
mander being the battle group commander and the
bases being the cruisers, destroyers and frigates is
“The Sailors here on the base feel like they’re
operational and they know that they’re the first line
of defense — and the second line of defense — on an
installation. So that’s a win. That’s a complete win,”
Gilbert said the status of forces agreement between
the U.S. and Poland lays out the authorities, but not the
specifics of how he and his Polish counterparts imple-
ment and execute security.
Capt. Rick Gilbert, the new commanding officer of Naval Support Facility (NSF) Redzikowo,
Poland, passes through sideboys during a change-of-command ceremony Nov. 30. Gilbert
assumed command from Capt. Chris Landis during a ceremony at which Commander, Navy
Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia, also officially established NSF Redzikowo. The installation will be home to the second Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System.