During the event, NAVWAR Commander Rear Adm. Christian Becker welcomed policy committee members from the Chamber’s defense, veterans and military affairs committee and the transportation and land development committee. Becker’s remarks focused on the importance of NAVWAR’s mission to the future of the Navy and the nation.
“We have more than 11,000 personnel worldwide working around the clock to deliver information warfighting capabilities from seabed to space and through cyberspace to ensure the security of our Navy and our nation,” said Becker. “Of those 11,000, 5,200 are employed here in San Diego, providing a sizable, positive impact on the region’s economy. We are better able to execute our mission by being located in San Diego, where we are close to one of the country’s largest concentration areas of operational naval forces, great training ranges, high-tech industry and world-class academic institutions.”
Becker also commented on the 2019 San Diego Military Advisory Council’s annual economic impact study, where it was reported that NAVWAR contributed an estimated $3.2 billion to San Diego’s gross regional product (GRP) and more than 26,000 jobs during fiscal year 2018. The report projected those numbers to grow to $3.5 billion GRP and 29,000 jobs in fiscal year 2019.
Following Becker, Greg Geisen, Facilities Plan and NAVWAR Revitalization lead, provided Chamber members with an overview of NAVWAR revitalization. The effort is an agreement between the U.S. Navy and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to explore options for building and developing new NAVWAR facilities of Naval Base Point Loma’s Old Town Complex, including more than 70 acres of property located in the Midway-Pacific Highway District.
“NAVWAR’s current facilities are not adaptable, sustainable or compatible with NAVWAR’s growing mission requirements,” said Geisen. “To execute its high-tech operations and to meet emerging security requirements, NAVWAR is in need of new modern facilities. This public-private venture could result in a state-of-the-art 1.5 million square foot NAVWAR facility, as well as a substantial economic benefit to the region through the construction and operation of new commercial, transportation and housing facilities.”
Geisen also informed the group of the Jan. 24 signing of the agreement between the Navy and SANDAG which provides clear, defined milestones to ensure progress in exploring the redevelopment opportunity.
Additionally, to give the Chamber of Commerce a greater understanding of the work conducted at NAVWAR, Geisen gave the group a tour of the command’s main buildings, World War II-era aircraft manufacturing factories. The buildings have been partially modernized to provide training facilities, administrative office space, and industrial space to support NAVWAR’s projects and programs. The existing space is currently underutilized and is functionally obsolete given the 1940’s era facilities’ design.
While touring the facilities, the group stopped at the Network Integration Engineering Facility (NIEF), located inside one of the on-site buildings.
The NIEF specializes in the rapid design and integration of commercial and government off-the-shelf products for military applications. It also provides environmental qualification testing services for those products, which applies to both the development of new systems and upgrades to existing systems.
The NIEF provides a classified space where integrated teams can work together to deliver high quality information warfare capabilities such as the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES). Engineers and information technology specialists work together in the secret level facility to enable loading certificates, software applications and secret compartmental information internet protocol for CANES, significantly reducing the install time on the ship.
In addition to the NIEF, NAVWAR is conducting large range of other programs and projects inside the dated buildings from digital engineering, data science, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality, 3-D printing and more.
Moving forward, NAVWAR will continue to collaborate with and host other San Diego community and business groups to enhance understanding of NAVWAR’s mission, its impact to the San Diego Region and NAVWAR’s importance to the future of the Navy and the Nation.