The Naval Weapons Station in Charleston and the Charleston Air Force Base are now one team under a newly formed Joint Base Charleston. While the bases will remain where they are, Commander of Joint Base Charleston Colonel Martha Meeker explains, “We are going to take those two entities, merge them together under one commander for installation management.”
Meeker says the combination of the Naval Weapons Station and the Charleston Air Force Base is due to some economic difficulties, including a 2005 base closure.
This was a result of the Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) committee that happened back in 2005, and it is an attempt to seek some efficiency throughout the DOD (Department of Defense) infrastructure. We have about 193 bases in the United States and in Guam. This is an opportunity to combine a couple and maybe see where we can find some inefficiencies.
However, Meeker says she sees some good things coming out of the merge.
At every level we want to make sure we team up because that is the only way we are really going to make any significant improvements to our already existing base support structure because you take the best of both ideas and you challenge each other…You take the best of both worlds and make things better at both installations.
Meeker says Joint Base Charleston will also create jobs and opportunities for servicemen.
As you got to do new processes, and you got to do new ideas, we are going to enlarge the workforce by about 65 individuals that we will be hiring new, and then we will also be hiring starting up contract security forces as we convert some of the contracts from the Naval Weapons Station to federal employees.
Among the speakers at today’s ceremony: Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Henry Brown.