Asst. Secretary of Navy visits local naval installations

Lucian Niemeyer addressed environmental, installation concerns

Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment, Lucian Niemeyer, visited Navy Region Northwest installations last week to address environmental and installation concerns with regional Navy leadership and local elected officials.

Niemeyer is responsible for oversight and policy for Navy and Marine Corps facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization, military construction, acquisition, utilization and disposal of real estate and facilities; environmental protection, planning, restoration and natural resources conservation; and safety and occupational health.

“As I review the Department’s issues around the world, I am struck by the vast array of operations, testings, and training conducted on the ranges and other lands in Washington State that are critical to Our Navy’s readiness,” Niemeyer said. “As such, I am concerned by the recent increase in court challenges to Navy activities that we have been conducting for decades. My trip to Navy Region Northwest, in part, intended to see why this is happening, and what can be done to improve the partnership with the State.”

While visiting the Pacific Northwest, some of Niemeyer’s stops included Naval Base Kitsap and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. He also met with mayors and other elected officials from Bremerton, Poulsbo, and Kitsap County.

“The Puget Sound area hosts some of the Navy’s most critical national defense capabilities, needed to sustain Naval power around the globe,” Commander of Navy Region Northwest, Rear Adm. Scott Gray said. “From one of the most important nuclear shipyards on the planet to unique defense electronic warfare capabilities, these are things we simply cannot win without.”

Niemeyer also used the visit to highlight the lawsuit settlement agreement announced Jan. 29 related to hull-scraping of Navy ships.

“Thanks to DOJ, the Washington State Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, the Suquamish Tribe, and environmental groups for their cooperation with the Navy on a settlement agreement,” he said. “The Navy remains committed to working with our partners in the Northwest to protect the environment, our waterways, and our fisheries.”

“Where groups have concerns, we will work to address them while preserving critical military capabilities. The continued partnership with the State of Washington to settle litigation is critical to preserving support in the state and protecting our unique Navy capabilities for our nation’s security.”

Installation resiliency was a key topic during Niemeyer’s visit to NBK and PSNS, where he toured the installation to view projects that will support infrastructure modernization and future growth.

“It was an honor to host Secretary Niemeyer during his visit to Naval Base Kitsap,” NBK Commanding Officer, Capt. Richard Rhinehart said. “We share the same priorities on resiliency and readiness ensuring the fleet is well prepared to fight and win anywhere in the world at any time. NBK plays a vital role in ensuring our nation’s security; this was an excellent opportunity to showcase some of the great contributions our sailors and tenant commands make each day in supporting our national defense.”

The shipyard took the opportunity to highlight the importance of efforts to modernize and upgrade aging infrastructure, along with the need to ensure continued support for Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program efforts, along with good environmental stewardship. Topics of conversation also included information and cybersecurity, ensuring safety of the workforce, and a thorough exploration of shipyard infrastructure.

Niemeyer toured the entire shipyard, stopping at each dry dock where project superintendents were paired with ship’s commanding officers to share the progress and innovative successes of their availabilities.

“It was a great opportunity to showcase what our workforce accomplishes here every day and the special connection we have with our community,” PSNS Commanding Officer, Capt. Dianna Wolfson said. “Our dry docks are full, and we are working with a sense of urgency to meet our Navy’s needs and actively support our national security.”