Whidbey Crosswind: Good predictions for NASWI’s future

Jan 30, 2012

By: Kathy Reed

January 30, 2012

I have no crystal ball, and even if I did, I wouldn’t use it to try to predict the future, at least where Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is concerned.

Anyone peering into a crystal ball these days would probably say the trend in Washington, D.C. is one that spells good news for NASWI.

It appears, with the shift in President Obama’s defense strategy to an Asia-Pacific focus, Whidbey Island will play an even more important role in our nation’s defense. The way Oak Harbor counts on the economic stability of NAS Whidbey, that can only bring huge sighs of relief from city leaders.

Letters exchanged between Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, and Rep. Rick Larsen, indicate there is full support for the current Record of Decision, which will bring four squadrons of P-8A Poseidons to NAS Whidbey, replacing the fleet of existing P-3C Orion aircraft.

Another sign, if you will, came last week during a visit to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. Greenert said deployments of ships and aircraft in the Pacific would remain at current levels or be increased. While Greenert went so far as to say Hawaii is the most strategic base, NASWI holds a strong strategic position as well and will surely play a vital role in the president’s new defense strategy.

To know the economic stability of NAS Whidbey Island will remain strong — at least for the  near future — is a relief. To know the community’s fate is tied so closely to the rise and fall of one military installation is a little scary.

We can rejoice in the moment and rest easy for the time being— as long as military strategies and decisions of record don’t change and provided politics and elections don’t affect the landscape too greatly.