Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command

NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic Executes First In-House Installation Development Plan for NWS Earle

04/12/21 10:25 AM

 A view of the Naval Weapons Station

By Alexander Berryman, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic, Asset Management Business Line and NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK, VA - Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic, Asset Management Business Line (AMBL), recently completed updating the Installation Development Plan (IDP) of Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Earle, located in Colts Neck, New Jersey.

An IDP, also commonly referred to as a master plan, recommends what construction should occur on a naval installation within the next 20 years. This plan uniquely identifies facilities and other infrastructure that is most likely to affect an existing or future mission negatively. As a result, NWS Earle now possesses a realistic plan that provides step-by-step directions designed to achieve installation goals.

In 2017, Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) instructed NAVFAC to begin completing IDPs internally. Historically, contracted architecture and engineering firms produced large documents that overlooked the critical missions at an installation. These documents proved to be of limited value to a Public Works Department (PWD) responsible for planning future infrastructure. By completing the new NWS Earle IDP, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic AMBL is leading the Navy-wide effort to invest proactively in future facilities and supporting shore infrastructure.

“This master plan prioritizes mission, people, and safety,” said NWS Earle Commanding Officer Capt. Edward Callahan. “NWS Earle’s primary purpose is to store and deliver aviation ordnance to the Atlantic Fleet. Completing this mission requires active duty personnel, civilians, and families to have access to appropriate facilities. Storing ordnance safely involves a complex set of safety measures, but other factors like potential sea-level rise could endanger the installation’s waterfront. An IDP represents the tool suited for coordinating these priorities for the next 20 years.”

Per CNIC, 71 naval installations with more than 114,000 facilities valued at nearly $245 billion, span the globe. Limited funding and manpower exists to maintain, as well as construct, new infrastructure on naval installations. Accordingly, each installation needs to strategize and determine what facilities and other infrastructure are most important. Failure to do so at a single installation will most certainly decrease the readiness of the entire Navy.

Minimal future readiness issues exist at NWS Earle because the updated IDP supports existing and future missions. The IDP contains a Capital Investment Program, which is a series of recommended projects ordered based upon importance. Asset Management (AM) planners scoped 64 future projects for NWS Earle beginning with the near term (0-5 years) and concluding with the long term (15+ years). Of these projects, 59 of them fall under a reasonable cost threshold of $35 million. These projects as planned would come from numerous funding streams, which enhances the likelihood of the projects receiving support. Master plans traditionally called for changes that made an installation ideal or perfect without consideration of cost or feasibility. NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic focused on practicality at NWS Earle to ensure the supply of aviation ordnance across the Atlantic remains steady.

Preparing an IDP includes involving those who work and live at the installation. Members of the NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic AMBL IDP team traveled to NWS Earle and facilitated multiple workshops with participants who directly influenced the direction and content of the master plan. Elements of the plan based upon participation includes the following vision statement, which establishes how the installation should function in 20 years.

“NWS Earle will provide reliable and resilient infrastructure that is critical to the safe storage and transport of ordnance to a unique and efficient pier complex, while also supporting tenant activities and future growth opportunities in a campus setting.”

Participants proceeded to define what and where infrastructure should exist in the future through a product known as the Preferred Course of Action. AM planners invited participants to design NWS Earle themselves. Each team could make different kinds and quantities of improvements to the installation. Based on this activity, the group identified adding rail lines, building new ordnance storage magazines, and enhancing the pier complex as essential future development. Each component aligns with the key priorities of leadership; mission, people, and safety. Rail lines deliver ordnance to the installation’s waterfront and involves the staff of both Naval Munitions Command (NMC) and the PWD. Likewise, safely storing ordnance protects all individuals on the installation. Modernizing the pier complex ensures resilience to future severe weather and potential sea-level rise. Such illustrates an example of how NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic is supporting its installations with today and tomorrow in mind.

AMBL continued the work of NWS Earle and uniquely evaluated all infrastructure located on the installation through in-depth research. Traditional research methods yielded irregular results, so planners created new calculations that integrated common principles into the analysis of data. This effort identified facilities still in use beyond their intended lifespan and added importance to those used by key commands like NMC. It also elevated infrastructure that is expensive to replace, which speaks to what is most important to maintain. Infrastructure meeting these three principles represent capability gaps since they are most likely to interfere with an existing or future mission.

“NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic, as evident within the NWS Earle IDP, leads the way in Navy master planning,” said Thomas Rosen, AMBL community planner and IDP project manager. “Developing a realistic, executable IDP in partnership with the installation, focused on mission and future requirements like resiliency, represent traits present only in a diligently crafted master plan. Future construction at NWS Earle will now follow a step-by-step program intended to maximize improvements to mission, people, and safety, and fulfills the best interests of the Fleet, Fighter, and Family.”

NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic provides facilities engineering, public works and environmental products and services across an area of responsibility that spans from Georgia to Maine and as far west as Indiana. As an integral member of the Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic team, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic provides leadership through the Regional Engineer organization to ensure the region's facilities and infrastructure are managed efficiently and effectively.

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