NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (NNS) — Rear Adm. Bret Muilenburg, commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), and chief of civil engineers addressed the Navy League's Sea-Air-Space Global Maritime Exposition as part of the Department of the Navy Energy, Installations and Environment (EI&E) Priorities panel, April 10.
The exposition, held at the Gaylord National Resort, brought the U.S. defense industrial base, private-sector U.S. companies and key military decision-makers together for an annual innovative, educational, professional and maritime-based event. Military and trade exhibits peppered the main hall floor, while panels and presenters occupied conference rooms filled with stakeholders from all of facets of industry and policy.
Steven Iselin, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy, EI&E, moderated the panel. Other panelists included the Hon. Phyllis Bayer, assistant secretary of the Navy EI&E; Vice Adm. Mary Jackson, commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC); and Todd Calhoun, deputy commander, Marine Corps Installations Command (MCICOM). The panel focused on ensuring installation readiness to support the warfighting mission.
Bayer noted the time has come to make installation infrastructure a priority in order to support current and future mission needs. She has called for the CNIC and NAVFAC commanders to re-establish those priorities for the Navy to address those requirements.
"I've asked them to relook at the [fiscal year] '18 budget, and the [fiscal year] '19 budget, and the fiscal year '21 budget, and now is the time to go and re-look at these facilities and make sure we're asking for your needs," Bayer said.
Muilenburg, who has served as the commanding officer for NAVFAC Hawaii and NAVFAC Pacific, assumed his duties as commander of the NAVFAC headquarters, Nov. 4, 2015. CNIC and MCICOM are two major commands NAVFAC supports, and Muilenburg expressed the appropriateness of him being seated in between the two on the panel, and being the final speaker to address how NAVFAC supports its customers.
"Additional resourcing is on the way ... I think it is on the way, and we're seeing that," said Muilenburg. "And priorities for that resourcing, in my view, are being very clearly articulated by our supported commanders. And that's key, because we want to spend that money on the most important projects that support our national defensive strategies."
Muilenburg identified cyber and energy security as NAVFAC's two main resiliency efforts. He also spoke about having planning and design efforts moving along simultaneously with requirements development in order to increase efficiency, and went on to talk about how NAVFAC has partnered with industry.
"We held an all-day session with industry, and we talked about 'how can we describe our requirements better?'" said Muilenburg. "How can we structure the contract better? What industry best practices can be introduced into the government system? We surveyed other federal agencies like NASA on how they do it."
Likewise, Jackson promoted a shift in how installations are viewed, to better align the shore with the needs of the warfighter.
"Naval installations are complex platforms," said Jackson. "We certainly think of ships as platforms and airframes as platforms, but an installation is really a platform, too; it's a system of systems, and it's complex. I do believe that it starts and ends with the shore. Sailors start and move again on one of our bases. Ships sail from and return to our bases. They train and maintain at our bases, as do our aviators and Seabees."
Jackson went on to draw the comparison between installations and other naval platforms.
"We talk about configuration; we talk about condition and capability," she said. "And we have to make sure that those things are all aligned to what the warfighter needs."
NAVFAC has long considered itself a customer-oriented command, and Muilenburg reemphasized that concept with a call to action.
"I think there is a clear call to action for NAVFAC and our industry partners ... and that's to achieve work that is of the absolute highest quality because our Sailors and Marines deserve nothing less," said Muilenburg.
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