Sunday, October 18, 2015

NCFA Visited MARAD Vessels at Sperry

An earlier blog article wrote of the upcoming visit by the National Commission for the Future of the Army’s (NCFA) to JBLM and the public hearing available to the community to share its comments with the commission.

The NCFA is a non-discretionary Federal advisory committee established by the Secretary of Defense to conduct a comprehensive study of the structure of the Army, and policy assumptions, related to the size and force mixture. The NCFA visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) September 22-25.

During the public hearing, members of the community, including the Tacoma-Pierce Co. Chamber, the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership, the Washington (State) Military Alliance/Washington State Dept. of Commerce and the City of Lakewood spoke of logistics, the Great Circle, quality of life, the Pivot to the Pacific, relationships with the Washington National Guard and other matters relevant to a grand design for tomorrow’s Army from the perspective of the Pacific Northwest and JBLM.

However, an aspect of their visit not reported has been the NCFA’s visit to the MARAD vessels in ready reserve condition at Sperry Ocean Terminals (aka Sperry Dock) at the Port of Tacoma, Commencement Bay.

On September 23, Miguel Jimenez, Director PNW-D and Christopher Donohue, PNW-D Marine Cargo Specialist joined with the Port of Tacoma (Andre Elmaleh, Military Liaison; Sean Eagan, Director Governmental Affairs, Robert Meyer, Senior Manager Port Operations, Gerry Fiola, Chief of Security, Louis Cooper, Senior Director Security and Labor Relations, and Bari Bookout, Executive for Non-Containerized Business and Commercial Strategy) and Military Sealift Command (MSC) (Bruce Leach, Director), and the USCG (Captain of the Port,CAPT M.W. “Joe” Raymond) to welcome the NCFA members at the Port and aboard the Ready Reserve Force (RRF) vessel CAPE ISLAND berthed at the Sperry Ocean Terminals. The joint team facilitated the continuation of JBLM's presentation to the NCFA addressing the unique regional power projection capabilities at JBLM and the PNW Strategic Seaport.

Jimenez began the discussion by setting the stage with some history about military port operations in the PNW, transitioning to present SDDC PNW-D capabilities. He explained the difference between Strategic and Alternate Seaports noting all of the key ports in the PNW and the metrics measured through Strategic Analysis through the Ports for National Defense program conducted by SDDC, Transportation Engineering Agency. The Port of Tacoma highlighted their ability to rapidly receive, stage, and load military cargo. MSC discussed how they are postured regionally and along the West Coast to support rapid movement from the PNW. The Commission asked questions regarding the life of steam powered ships (both CAPE I vessels berthed at the Sperry Dock are steam powered). The Captain of the Port discussed water side security response and relationships through committees like the Port Readiness Committee.

The Commission members included Thomas Lamont, former Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower, former Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler, III (retired), and LTG Jack Stultz (retired).

The Commission will issue its report no later than February 1, 2016.  Contact:

Col.Kristen Dixon, Public Affairs Officer, Commission Staff, 571-294-2914, NCFA or Joe Eule, 571-256-2643, or at 2530 Crystal Drive, Taylor Bldg., Suite 5000, Arlington, VA 22202, (o) 571.256.2651. 

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