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Navy may merge Bremerton, Bangor bases
It was a no-brainer, really.
Two vital Kitsap County Navy bases have been operating as separate entities from the day they opened.
Why not merge the 5-year-old Naval Station Bremerton and 26-year-old Naval Submarine Base Bangor into one super-base with a new name and two annexes?
A merger could save money on command redundancies, so Navy top brass is considering the idea. The proposed merger would save millions of dollars per year in efficiencies to put both bases about eight miles apart under one administration.
If approved, about 40 military and civilian jobs would be eliminated.
Rear Adm. Len Hering, commanding officer of Navy Region Northwest, said the Navy is considering eliminating the command at Naval Station Bremerton and place it under the Bangor command.
The command will go to Bangor because of its superior and long-standing infrastructure, said Lt. Anne Cossitt, assistant public affairs officer for Navy Region Northwest. Subase Bangor came into existence in February 1977.
The marriage will likely be known as Naval Base Kitsap, with annexes at Bremerton and Bangor, Hering said.
Although no one other than command staff are being looked at as being laid off, the Navy will continue to examine redundancies in the formerly separate bases. That could lead to layoffs in the future.
Our Navy has been experiencing change at a tremendous rate over the last few years, Hering said.
From the Pentagon to the deckplates, we are having to reassess the way we do the Navys business.
Never before has the need to become efficient and effective been so paramount, he added.
He said the change is closely related to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clarks vision.
This vision, called Sea Power 21, sees the Navy as having the technology, agility, firepower and people to meet challenges of the 21st century, said Hering.
What this comes down to is providing our sailors and Marines with the tools to fight a war and win, he said.
Overall, the Navys goal is to save about $10 billion per year to build up the fleet.
Bangors submariners and Bremertons surface-ship sailors serve different missions, but top brass see no complications arising.
Layoffs wont occur until 2004 mostly from the Navy. DoD and the Navy will assist personnel in finding new positions.
The proposal is still being reviewed by the secretary of the Navy. The Navy is reportedly trying to save the $40 billion over the next four years to add to the current 295 ships.
The possible merger action is separate from the Pentagons base realignment and closures (BRAC) being dictated by Congress in 2005.
We need to continue to determine what changes make sense for this region. We need to look at adopting models that have proven successful elsewhere, Hering said. We must all be prepared to embrace the challenges associated with creating the very best and most cost-effective organization possible.