the Navy needs from us, we are scalable. We have
plenty to do regardless of what our force structure is.
How do you maintain the readiness of the
Seabees when you’re not deployed?
SAUM: First of all, we are maintaining readiness right
now because our focus is major combat operations.
We’re always mindful of, and preparing for, the potentiality of going to war. So, our deployments are a
continuation of our readiness. Our mission is to build
When we’re in homeport, what we’re focused on is
developing the skills at the individual, small-unit and
then battalion level to do that building and fighting. We
have a series of technical classes to work on the construction skills both for the individual Seabee and then
the program management of doing the construction
project. We also have small-unit training, command
post exercises and then, usually, it will finish up with
a field training exercise and a final evaluation problem
where the battalion is in the field, doing construction
work and different tasking based on what we think we
may have to do in a certain theater.
The final piece of this is where the Expeditionary
Warfare Development Command [EXWDC] comes out
and evaluates the battalion in an integrated exercise
where we work not just within the Seabees, but also
with the other forces within NECC. It’s a very robust
program that focuses on both the build and the fight
aspects of what we do.
Then, when we deploy, we’re focused on the construction projects and always mindful — whether we’re
doing humanitarian assistance, theater security cooperation or just plain old construction readiness projects
— that the Seabees are developing the skills set that we
would need in a major combat operation.
What are the metrics you use to
measure your readiness?
SAUM: The EXWDC are the final folks who come in and
say, “OK, you guys are good to go.” We are evaluating
the Seabees at every step. The individual Seabee gets
a grade and, if that Seabee doesn’t pass that particular class, that weighs in and is part of the calculus on
the readiness of that battalion, all the way up through
their ability to conduct construction operations, and
their ability to command-and-control their unit to
exercise their capabilities. All of that is evaluated in
excruciating detail to make sure that we’ve got a good
accounting of how they’re doing.
A Seabee, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3, speaks with Capt. Mike Saum, commodore, Naval Construction Group (NCG)
One, during NMCB 3’s Field Training Exercise (FTX) Nov. 1 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. The FTX prepares and tests the battalion’s ability to enter
hostile locations, build assigned construction projects and defend against enemy attacks using realistic scenarios while being evaluated by NCG 1.