Wednesday, January 14, 2009

US Navy Clears Carrier Homebasing for Mayport

Focus on Defense
Naval Station Mayport, Florida. (U.S. Navy photo.)

Focus on Defense:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2009 -- The following news release made available by the U.S. Defense Department Wednesday is the text of a statement regarding the homeporting of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier at Naval Station Mayport.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Environment, B.J. Penn, today signed a record of decision for the Mayport Homeporting Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Navy's decision is to implement the preferred alternative, which is to homeport a single nuclear powered aircraft carrier (CVN) at Naval Station (NAVSTA) Mayport, Fla., and to complete associated infrastructure modifications. These include dredging, infrastructure and wharf improvements, and construction of CVN nuclear propulsion plant maintenance facilities.

Homeporting a CVN at NAVSTA Mayport reduces risks to fleet resources in the event of natural disaster, manmade calamity, or attack by foreign nations or terrorists. This includes risk to aircraft carriers, industrial support facilities, and the people that operate and maintain these crucial assets.

Mayport allows us to obtain the advantages of fleet dispersal and survivability without impacting operational availability. On the West Coast we experience some reduced operational availability associated with homeport dispersal. We lose operational availability during the additional transit time required to reach operational and training areas from the Pacific Northwest. By establishing a second CVN homeport on the East Coast, we can gain the dispersal advantage without the increased transit time. The proximity to training areas and transit time to operating areas is about equal from Norfolk and Mayport.

The EIS examined potential environmental consequences of constructing and operating facilities and infrastructure associated with homeporting additional surface ships at NAVSTA Mayport. It assessed 13 alternatives, including a "no action" alternative. The EIS evaluated resources in the Mayport area that may be affected by the proposed action, such as air and water quality, biological resources (such as marine mammals and threatened and endangered species), land use, cultural resources, and socioeconomics. The EIS also accounted for cumulative impacts from other activities in the Mayport area.

The Navy worked closely with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service throughout the consultation process and completed consultations prior to the final decision.
(Report from a U.S. Defense Department news release.)

Related Source:

Related Backstory: The Hill: Navy clears carrier for Florida

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be sure to nav. over to The Hill's news article. It contains some interesting backstory elements about the raging politics surrounding this issue.

In my opinion, the politicos in Virginia who are opposing the decision are actually making the Navy's case, their main argument being all of the Navy's east coast carrier airpower is based at Oceana so it is natural that the carrier should be based in Norfolk.

The Navy wants to put the carrier in Mayport in order to distribute the risk of having all the carriers at one base.

It's too bad they can't also do this with the carrier based east coast air squadrons.


It was also about the politicos.

NAS Cecil Field also in Jacksonville, which was slated to be the Navy's largest master jet base on the east coast, was closed by former President Clinton and the Democrat controlled congress in 1993.

8:40 PM EST  

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