By Frank Whitman, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas Public Affairs Office
PITI, Guam (NNS) -- Ensuring safety on military construction sites, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas updated Guam contractors on new regulations for munitions and explosives of concern during a Contractors Forum, Oct. 25.
About 20 contractors attended the Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) Contractors Forum at Top o' the Mar in Piti. The forum was an opportunity for the military to explain the MEC program, as well as for contractors to ask questions, make suggestions and voice their concerns.
"This provides much-needed dialogue between contractors and military officials," said Joint Region Marianas MEC Program Manager Major Patrick Kucera. "We have a more thorough understanding in both directions - the contractors' side and the government side - as to where we are and where we need to go. I think this initial meeting will pave the way for more productive meetings in the future."
During this particular meeting military representatives provided information and updates that have been made to the program. "We've made changes to the MEC program and this is a good way to get the word out to contractors," said NAVFAC Marianas Deputy Operations Officer Lt. Cmdr. Henry Suter. "We shared a few additional programmatic documents and a quality assurance surveillance plan with contractors."
Among the topics of discussion was clarification of the recent MEC exemptions, "and a bit about how we viewed the requirements for execution, and some of the challenges," Suter said. "We know that our contractors are experiencing those challenges as well."
Contractors were encouraged to submit in writing questions and feedback, and organizers committed to prompt email responses back to the attendees.
Contractors were appreciative of the forum and the opportunity to provide feedback, Suter said. "We've got a good contractor community with a lot of people that are seeking to do a great job for the Navy," he said. "If we maintain open dialogue through this forum, I think we will see our program continue to grow and develop in a positive fashion."
As the MEC program evolves and matures, Suter said these forums will be held more frequently, and he hopes to see stronger participation from the prime contractors. "They have significant vested interest in what's going on, so we highly encourage their participation in future contractor forums like this."
Guam, a U.S. Territory, is an historic WWII battlefield which means there exists the probability of encountering MEC on construction sites.
"Working together as a government and contractor team will enable alignment in the integration of the munitions clearance, site planning, engineering, construction and acquisition processes to gain efficiencies and continued effectiveness," said NAVFAC Marianas Commanding Officer Capt. Stephanie Jones. "I commend the team for working in partnership to support this very important effort."