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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Marine Corps Not a Target-Rich Environment for BRAC

The U.S. Marine Corps’ top general says the service’s base structure is lean and well-suited for its mission.

“Our view is we don’t have a whole lot of excess capacity,” Gen. Robert B. Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, said during a talk with reporters Feb. 19.

The Marine Corps has a boot camp near Lindbergh Field, an air station at Miramar and the expansive training area of Camp Pendleton in northern San Diego County.

There is pressure building for another base realignment and closure round — called BRAC in federal government circles. Some see a BRAC as necessary as the cost of providing benefits to Defense Department dependents weighs increasingly on the Pentagon budget. The president’s fiscal 2017 Pentagon budget proposal asks Congress for authority to start a new BRAC round in 2019.

Asked about a future BRAC, Neller said the Marines would participate in the process and show the BRAC commission what the Marines do with their assets. “Those that make the decision can come to their own judgment,” he said.

“It’s difficult if you ever get down to one of anything,” the general also told the San Diego Business Journal. “You like to have enough depth so that you can never get down to one base that does just this one thing.”

Decades ago, the U.S. Navy trained its recruits in San Diego, too.

Eventually the Pentagon closed Point Loma’s Naval Training Center as part of a BRAC, turning it over to the city of San Diego. The site was redeveloped into a mixed-use infill development for civilians. Recent transplants know the former training camp as Liberty Station.

Neller made his comments at the West 2016 conference at the San Diego Convention Center. He took the commandant’s job in September.

The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association co-sponsors the annual end-of- winter conference with the U.S. Naval Institute.

• • •

Kratos Makes Changes: In a bid to make its business more efficient, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. said that it was stopping work at its Charleston Marine Container manufacturing plant in South Carolina. The Post and Courier of Charleston said that 86 people would lose their jobs, citing information from South Carolina’s Department of Employment and Workforce.

Kratos said in a Feb. 19 statement that it hoped to reopen the plant when it gets adequate new business. The plant produced modular buildings similar to shipping containers, as well as structures hardened against blast, ballistic threats and other threats. Kratos acquired the business and another factory in Pennsylvania in 2010 as part of its $133 million purchase of Gichner Holdings. Gichner had a backlog of $100 million of work orders at the time.

• • •

AFSAT Additions: Also in mid-February, Kratos Defense announced contract wins related to the Air Force Subscale Aerial Target, or AFSAT.

Kratos’ Composite Engineering Inc. unit will provide unmanned aerial target systems to the U.S. Air Force under an $18.7 million deal announced Feb. 23. Sacramento-based CEI will provide 21 production target aircraft, plus the associated warranty.

The targets are “high-fidelity enemy threat surrogates” that simulate the performance characteristics of certain threat aircraft and missiles during weapons testing and training. Kratos’ MSI unit, based in Florida, will supply most of the high-performance avionics used in the unmanned targets.

Separately, CEI received a six-year, $37 million contract for AFSAT peculiar spares and consumables, contractor logistics support and out-of-warranty repairs. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida awarded both deals.

• • •

More Traction for MILES: Kearny Mesa-based Cubic Corp. said it received U.S. Army contracts worth $44 million for electronics to be used during war games. Cubic’s I-MILES IWS gear turns real weapons into laser tag devices, making for more effective training. The initials I-MILES IWS stand for Instrumentable-Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System Individual Weapon System. The Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation awarded the deal, announced Feb. 22.

Separately, Cubic announced a semiannual dividend of 13½ cents per share, payable March 21 to shareholders of record March 7.

• • •

MobileLand Makes Its Debut: The U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific sent word that it has remodeled one of its offices in the Silicon Valley style. The space is now suitable for techies who prefer to work on their laptops or smartphones.

SPAWAR leaders have dubbed the office “MobileLand.” Here you can really sit on a bright red piece of lawn furniture, on top of a mat of fake grass and solve problems for the Navy.

“Today, millennials go into the workplace and expect the office to be more like Facebook and Google,” said Aaron Peterson, an engineer credited as one of the masterminds behind the concept.

“We’re showing that the government is not just gray walls and boring.”

Send San Diego defense contracting news to bradg@sdbj.com.

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