By MCC (SW/AW/EXW) Athena Blain, NCG 2 Public Affairs
Capt. John Adametz, commodore, NCG 2, looks on as CM2 (SCW) Daniel Theler conducts routine 3M maintenance on a mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle in one of NCG 2’s maintenance bays at the N436 transportation and maintenance building, Gulfport, Miss. Photo by MCC Athena Blain
Most Sailors have heard the terms force structure, force reshaping and budget cuts. These words are extremely prevalent in today’s Navy, and will continue to be part of the Navy’s annual budget process. With the Naval Construction Force (NCF) sized about 50 percent smaller than what it was at the height of the Global War on Terror, many Seabees may be wondering just what the future holds.
“Historically, our military goes through cycles,” said Capt. John Adametz, commander, Naval Construction Group (NCG) 2, Gulfport, Miss., Oct. 9. “At the close of every war, we tend to go down about 30 percent.”
That doesn’t mean that it’s all bad news.
“We need a Navy that continues to rush to crisis, and can take and hold battle space,” Adametz said. “Business is good. Just look at current events – Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, North Korea, Africa…There will always be a need for the fast mobilization that the Navy provides, and we’ll always need a strong Navy.”
Expeditionary Sailors such as Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Riverine and Seabees are an integral part of our Navy and will continue to be in high demand. Seabees have highly sought-after skills that are invaluable to supported combatant commanders.
“We are known for overcoming challenges, delivering quality construction, safely, on time and within budget. We bring unique skills to the fight…Not only can we build and fight, but we are self-supportive, can move, communicate and even dive,” said Adametz. “People hire us to deliver contingency engineering, as well as humanitarian and disaster relief efforts. There is high Navy demand for Seabees and we expect that demand will continue long term. “
Those efforts are the backbone of Seabee capabilities, so the need for Seabees will not go away. However, with military shift away from Afghanistan, NCF leadership is beginning to focus on strengthening Seabee skills.
“We need to be innovative and creative when faced with the challenge of the draw-down,” said Adametz. “Our senior leaders must balance all Navy requirements including procurement, personnel, research and development, and sustainment while meeting budget constraints, while ensuring we’re ready for the next fight, We need to find ways to deliver the readiness that our supported commanders require. “
NCG 2, along with its counterpart Naval Construction Group (NCG) 1, has implemented several initiatives to strengthen those skills. These include a comprehensive technical skill improvement program focusing on the training pipeline while at homeport; increased opportunities for improving technical skills; a mentor protégé program with Naval Facilities Engineering Command; and an optimized schedule enabling more time for challenging homeport construction projects, enhancing construction and project management skills, quality assurance, and planning and estimating projects for the next deployment. Additionally, NCG 2’s operations department is comparing Seabee capabilities with other services’ engineering components to address areas to improve, such as development of a cross-training curriculum across Seabee ratings.
“We have to be technically and tactically proficient so we are ready to fight the next war – which may not be the same as our last war,” said Adametz.
That’s exactly what the NCF is looking to do with this new focus – develop more proficient Seabees, and more streamlined training and deployment schedules.