WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 40 SEAPOWER / OCTOBER 2016
With regard to the Navy’s base infrastructure,
what are your major concerns today?
MUILENBURG: I think my major concern is to ensure
that our base infrastructure is able to support Navy
and Marine Corps missions over the long term. We’re
supporting it today, but I want to support it over the
The Navy has been operating under reduced topline
budgets and, in that environment, we prioritize our
resources toward warfighting platforms and readiness,
as we all would, and that is absolutely what we must
do. And we elect to take some thoughtful risk in some
of our shore accounts, and those accounts include military construction, and the sustainment, restoration and
modernization of our facilities.
Our approach to mitigate that is to just do the absolute best we can with the resources that we get. The
foundational concept is — back to the infrastructure
readiness focus area — understanding thoroughly what
facilities we have on each base. What condition are they
in? How important are they to the mission of that base?
We have a pretty good understanding of all that.
And then we prioritize the funding we get to the
most mission-critical facilities. We defer maintenance
and upgrades to other facilities that, although important, may be lesser important for the direct mission, like
an admin building. More important facilities might be
shipyards, piers and wharfs, communication facilities,
critical utility systems, those sorts of facilities. That’s
Our approach ashore involves energy security that
I also referred to in my focus areas. The idea is to
improve resilience and costs for those utilities so that
we’re able to maintain our service despite a natural
disaster or a man-made intrusion onto our system.
Reduction of our energy load — we attack that
through technological solutions, the most efficient
buildings, mechanical and electrical systems. Our
partners in industry help us with that through
third-party financing. Also, through our behavior,
asking people to be good stewards of the energy
that they use. Those are the components to reducing energy. And then we add to that, alternative
energies that provide the choices and the resilience
that we’re after.
I want to mention in terms of alternative energy,
over the past two years, the Department of the Navy
has procured over 1 gigawatt of alternative energy
— primarily solar — on our Navy and Marine Corps
bases, at a cost that was less than the cost we were
paying and anticipated to pay in the future. That is a
huge success for us.
I’d like to have more money to maintain our bases. I
don’t see it happening at this point in time. So we need
to do the very best with what we’ve got, understand
our systems, learn more about ourselves and our systems, innovate and slow the degradation so that we can
make sure those facilities are there for the long term.
Has the Defense Department’s “pivot” to
the Pacific affected your priorities at all, or
changed the way you do business?
MUILENBURG: I spent the better part of the last eight
years in the Pacific before I took over this job. Our
focus, our strategic shift to the Pacific, is something
we’ve been working on for about five years, since the
president announced it. For the Navy, Marine Corps
and PACOM [Pacific Command], I think it means
moving ships and submarines and aircraft and Marines
to the optimal locations to carry out their missions.
Often, those optimal locations involve other countries who are our allies and partners, like-minded
nations. Together, we provide security as partners. It is
the Navy’s intent to provide or to place 60 percent of
its operational assets in the Pacific by 2020. That takes
infrastructure. All that movement of operational units