community; it supports the entire city. Without the main-
tenance here, the ships won’t stay here. They’ll have to go
to some other port to get their work done, and all that
work, and those Sailors, will go with them.”
According to Ray Carpenter, president of R.E. Staite
Engineering, which recently completed the construc-
tion of the BAE Systems yard’s new pier and dredging
to accommodate more ships, the company’s investment
will upgrade the facility and fix environmental issues it
inherited from previous ownership.
“That’s bigger than any other project in the harbor,
including any of the hotels being built in the area,”
Carpenter said. “The shipyard is preserving and creat-
ing jobs. And not to be pejorative about the hotels, but
the quality of wages paid by shipyard far exceeds the
hospitality industry on average.”
While some people may think that removing the
shipyards and related industries from the waterfront
would be an improvement for the city, Carpenter said
one only need look at the San Francisco Bay Area where
the Navy moved out and shipyards were shut down.
“They got rid of the Navy and shipping-related industry, and now they have miles of abandoned waterfront.
Billions of dollars of infrastructure sits idle. The jobs are
all gone. And cities have gone bankrupt,” he said.
It’s not just about the economics. The Navy and the
shipyards are part of the fabric of the community.
John Alvarado, the executive director of the Good
Neighbor Project, was raised in Barrio Logan, the
neighborhood next to the shipyards, to a family with a
history of working on the waterfront.
Alvarado said his community always has had close
ties to the water and maritime industries.
“You look at the old photos and you see the three-masted schooners and the clipper ships. This city literally grew up around this waterfront,” he said.
Alvarado said the Navy and the shipyards are part of the
community, and generously donate to local organizations.
“If it wasn’t for the Navy and ship repair industry, a
lot of kids in this community wouldn’t have a
Christmas,” he said.
And he knows the naval presence is more than just
good for business.
“We’re a strategic port. During a time of war, this is
where the line is drawn,” Alvarado said.
There are a number of Navy and Marine Corps
installations in the area.
“We’re built around the military,” said Jerry Sanders,
a former two-term mayor of San Diego and chief of the
San Diego Police Force, and now president and chief
executive officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of
Altogether, the military and defense presence,
including the shipbuilding and repair business, bring
$32 billion to the region, and is responsible for 22 percent of all jobs in the region. Directly and indirectly,
shipbuilding and repair is responsible for 42,000 good-paying jobs in the region, Sanders said.
“It’s a unique eco-system. These smaller businesses
that support the shipyards are literally right across the
street. They can do business in close proximity with
their customers, and that takes traffic off our high-
ways. They are so efficient they can
shave costs, and do work that can’t
be done elsewhere,” Sanders said.
“Any disruption of the small busi-
nesses that surround the shipyards
makes it just that more expensive
to get those ships out.”
“The material readiness of our
surface force depends on the capa-
bility that exists on this waterfront
today,” Rowden said. “I am keenly
interested in ensuring that that
capability is preserved, because we
depend heavily upon it for the
material readiness of our ships.”
ADM Samuel J. Locklear III,
commander of U.S. Pacific Com-
mand, speaking to the San Diego
Military Advisory Council, gave a
blunter assessment. He said if the
Navy can’t get its ships repaired in
San Diego, it will have to go some-
where else. ;
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 16 SEAPOWER / MAY 2015
BAE Systems Ship Repair in San Diego is upgrading the facility to handle more ships.
It recently dedicated a new modern pier that can berth two more ships and will be
adding a new dry dock to join the “Pride of San Diego,” the yard’s current dry dock.