Supporting Our Naval Bases
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, it is my duty to work to improve services for our women and men in uniform and our veterans. Over the last several years I have worked with my colleagues in Congress to increase military pay, improve benefits and enhance the readiness of our military, which is strained by our ongoing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. To that end, I strongly support Naval Station Everett and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, the two military bases in the Second Congressional District.
Naval bases in Northwest Washington play a crucial role in keeping our country safe and protecting our interests worldwide. The Asia-Pacific region will continue to be vital to our economy and national security, and Naval Station Everett and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island must have sufficient resources to support sailors there and protect our nation.
Naval Station Everett
Naval Station Everett, aptly nicknamed “The Sailor’s Choice,” is home to more than 6,000 sailors and their families. Two destroyers and two Coast Guard cutters are currently homeported at the base, which is also a carrier homeport, although the carrier is presently undergoing multiple maintenance periods. I have consistently pushed the Navy to bring more missions to the base. When the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln left for a multi-year overhaul, I successfully advocated for basing another carrier, the USS Nimitz, at Everett. And as the Navy retires its fleet of frigates, more modern destroyers will come to Everett. The base is the most modern in the Navy and a leader in the Navy’s efforts to reduce energy use – NS Everett is the newest and most energy efficient base in the Navy and includes two LEED Gold and 29 energy star buildings as rated by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, located in Oak Harbor, has been a critical part of our nation's defense for nearly 70 years. The base is home to the Navy's Electronic Attack Squadrons of the new EA-18G Growlers, as well as a squadron of C-40 logistics aircraft. And big changes are coming to Whidbey Island. In June 2014, the Navy announced that six squadrons of P-8 Poseidons will be based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island by 2019. These planes, built just south of us in Renton, will replace the P-3 and conduct the vital maritime surveillance mission. Poseidon crews will work hand in hand with MQ-4C Triton UAS operators to perform critical missions. There are over 7,800 active duty sailors and Marines based at NAS Whidbey, and more than 10,000 military retirees in the community.
I remain steadfast in my commitment to upholding NAS Whidbey Island’s role as one of the country’s premier Navy installations. I also support the Growlers being stationed at the base, and the necessary training such as field carrier landing practice to make sure our servicewomen and men are prepared. I understand there are some in our community who are concerned about jet noise impacts on health and quality of life. As a member of Congress, it is my responsibility to strengthen the base while working to address the impact of noise in our community. I have met several times with people who have expressed their concerns about aircraft noise at NAS Whidbey Island and at Outlying Field Coupeville. I have discussed these issues with senior NAS Whidbey Island leadership and encouraged the base to improve its communications with community members. As a result, the base conducts semiannual Community Leaders meetings to allow local community leaders to discuss issues they receive from residents. Additionally, the base now publishes a schedule for operations at Coupeville, so community members can know when they may experience aviation noise.
- Successfully fought for a 2015 defense spending bill that included several provisions to strengthen the Northwest economy and improve national defense.
- Urged the Navy to replace decommissioning frigates with destroyers at Naval Station Everett.
- Encouraged the Navy to base a new destroyer at Naval Station Everett.
- Led efforts to ensure Naval Station Everett is a leading base for energy efficiency.
- Worked with Senate colleagues to ensure Whidbey families would have on-base access to critical nutrition.
- Worked with the Chief of Naval Operations to bring the P-8A Poseidon planes to NAS Whidbey Island.