Photo: U.S. Navy
Rear Adm. Loose tells Seabees in Okinawa about plans to relocate the base to Guam at a cost of $10 billion.
ENR Editor-in-Chief Janice Tuchman talked to Rear Admiral Michael Loose, Commander and Chief of Civil Engineers, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, in his office in the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard Sept. 25 . Loose has been confirmed by the senate to be promoted to vice admiral. His new role will be the director of material readiness and logistics.
What were the accomplishments of your term at NAVFAC?
I am most proud of my 1,300 officers, 17,000 civilians, 18,000 Seabees, and our contractor partners…for their wartime sense of urgency, impressive leadership and teamwork, execution of multiple, complex challenges, innovative solutions, courage and hard work to dramatically change the way we do business.
We significantly improved resource support to combat commanders and the Navy’s Expeditionary Combat Command Enterprise. We added a ninth Naval Mobile Construction Battalion and added funding for construction, tactical and personnel support equipment.
With close coordination and partnership with Commander Navy Installations Command, we transformed the Navy’s shore facilities management, lining up ownership and accountability. This significantly improved the engineering, acquisition and delivery of facilities and services to war fighters, fleet and families. This meant structural, functional, process and cultural change. We consolidated 25 Engineering/Acquisition and Public Works Center Commands into 15 Facilities Engineering Commands. And we transferred 13 regional engineer staffs and 64 installation public works departments into the 15 commands. This meant single accountability from concept, planning, engineering design and execution to operation and maintenance, disposal and demolition. In the process, we delivered $11.6 billion a year in facilities engineering, acquisition, and public works services. We increased productivity by 13% while reducing the work force by 1,300 personnel, which will save more than $600 million over the next five years.
And in the midst of all this came Hurricane Katrina?
Not just that. We had to respond immediately to the tsunami in Indonesia, the earthquake in Pakistan, and eight hurricanes including Ivan, Katrina, Rita and Wilma. We used every NAVFAC command and expedited the $1.8-billion worth of work to stabilize, repair, and recapitalize the Navy’s mission and families, including 3,000 Seabees and hundreds of contractors. More than 18,000 families were directly impacted. We leased homes, hotel rooms, condominiums, travel trailers, and mobile homes, but we were able to get 90% of family housing units and 75% of bachelor’s quarters back in service in 30 days. We helped FEMA and the Corps of Engineers with tent camp construction, levee repairs, morgue services and dewatering.
What challenges are ahead for NAVFAC?
Continuing to support the Global War on Terror, of course, and improving safety on our construction sites. We want to achieve zero accidents. We also want to achieve genuine partnering with contractor partners and to continue to improve the delivery of facilites engineering and acquisition and public works delivery. We want to deliver projects that are environmentally friendly, using better enterprise-wide business practices that drive down costs, improve speed and responsiveness, reduce durations, and better recognize, distribute and reward risk with our contractor partners.
Big challenges ahead are completing the Katrina and Ivan workload and executing the Base Realignment and Closure work in six years. We also must carry out the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, moving 8,000 Marines and 9,000 dependents from Okinawa to Guam.
How far along are you in that work?
Loose: We are working with the Dept. of the Navy and our NAVFAC Pacific organization on preliminary planning. Of the estimated $10.27 billion cost for facilities and infrastructure development, Japan will provide about $6 billion (in fiscal 2008 dollars), including $2.8 billion in direct cash contributions to develop facilities and infrastructure. The U.S. will fund the rest.
Explain more about how BRAC is affecting the Navy.
The Navy went from about 1,000 ships at the end of World War Two to about 280 ships now. We need to systematically match the shore facilities with the requirements of those ships. That means consolidating, realigning and closing some bases. In 2004, we wrote a strategic planning document called Navy Ashore Vision 2030. It will steer infrastructure investment so the Navy has the right bases in the right places with the right capability at the right price.
Photo: U.S. Navy
Seabees restore a children’s shelter in Waveland, Miss., after Katrina.
Indefinite quantity/indefinite delivery contracts have been controversial. How do they work under NAVFAC?
We now call the process Global Contingency Construction Contracts. They provide cost plus award fee, and the current 12-month period could be worth $1 billion with four renewal options. This contacting method is used for worldwide rapid civilian construction and engineering services response for disaster recovery, military conflict, military operations other than war and humanitarian assistance.
The most recent contracts were awarded on Aug. 4, 2006, to three firms: Atlantic Contingency Constructors, a joint venture of Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, Virginia Beach, Va.; AECOM Government Services, Inc., Fort Worth, Tex.; and PAE Government Services Inc. Los Angeles; Fluor Intercontinental Inc., Greenville, S.C.; and URS-IAP, a joint venture between URS Corp. Inc., Washington, D.C.; and IAP World Services Inc., Cape Canaveral, Fla.
In the Navy process, the contractors bid competitively among themselves for each task order, and awards are made on the technical merits of the proposal plus speed and cost. There is no guarantee how work will be spread among the three and no guarantee on the number of task orders that will be awarded.
The scope includes the capability to provide general mobilization services for personnel, equipment and material in support of naval construction forces mobilization. The contractors may be tasked to participate in military exercises. Work will be predominately construction—from roads, bridges, housing and field hospitals to specialty engineering such as dredging and environmental restoration among other things.
Has NAVFAC made efforts to improve sustainability?
Loose: Our biggest impact will be through consolidating facilities, reducing our footprint and reducing heating, lighting and repair costs. We developed a comprehensive utility and energy strategy to save more than $90 million over the next five years. We’re the DOD leader in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Part of the Energy Policy Act calls for renewable energy consumption by the federal government to be at least 7.5% of electricity use by 2013. We have projects using wind, geothermal, wave energy and ocean thermal energy conversion. And we are working with alternate fuel vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells.
Who takes over when you move up?
Loose: Rear Adm. Greg Shear, who was very involved in the reorganization efforts here, becomes the new commander Oct. 27.