Navy ready for North SuffolkPublished 10:32pm Saturday, September 14, 2013
Suffolk’s concentration of defense workers is about to expand considerably as the Navy prepares to begin moving in personnel for four commands relocating from Norfolk.
About 1,600 personnel will start moving into new digs at the former U.S. Joint Forces Command headquarters building beginning at the end of the month.
The commands — Navy Cyber Forces, Naval Network Warfare, Navy Cyber Defense Operations and elements of Fleet Cyber — are currently based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.
“Personnel will move in phases over the course of the next few months, in order to maintain continuity of operations,” stated Bennie Sanchez, chief of staff with Navy Cyber Forces.
“We anticipate the first group of personnel to arrive at the end of September.”
The Navy is planning an opening ceremony, Navy Cyber Forces public affairs officer Matthew Klee said in an email, but the exact date remains unknown.
He said the installation of network systems was “nearing completion,” adding they would be operational when workers at the commands start settling in.
“The Navy operates and defends computer network systems that enable communications across a secure domain,” he said.
According to a news release, the specific mission of Navy Cyber Forces — believed to be the largest of the commands — “is to provide relevant, resilient and effective command, control, communications, computer, combat systems and intelligence capabilities, and a highly trained cyber workforce to maximize fleet readiness and support all missions through cyberspace.”
Security protocols prevent discussion of “specific organizational roles or job descriptions,” Klee said.
The current location of Navy Cyber Forces is temporary, he said, adding Lake View Technology Park was “chosen to provide a more long-term facility.”
Two separate leases at the park for two buildings will expire in 2017 and 2019, Klee said, adding, “We will reevaluate the lease terms at the appropriate time, and no decisions will be made until a thorough analysis has been completed.”
Klee added the commands would occupy a combined 230,000 square feet of building space.
Meanwhile, two of the four commands will start in Suffolk with new leadership. Rear Adm. Diane E. H. Webber, current deputy commander at Fleet Cyber Command and the U.S. 10th Fleet, will relieve Rear Adm. Gretchen S. Herbert as commander of Navy Cyber Forces.
And at Naval Network Warfare, a Sept. 17 ceremony has been set for Capt. Eugene D. Costello to relieve Capt. John W. Chandler as commanding officer.
That command is “charged with executing tactical-level command and control or Navy networks and leveraging space capabilities for Navy and joint operations,” public affairs officers John L. Donaldson wrote in an email.
Mayor Linda T. Johnson stated that the command relocations are “a validation that Suffolk remains a premier location for cutting-edge defense technology operations.”
“It is an honor and a privilege to welcome these heroes to our community as they protect and defend the freedoms we hold dear,” she added.
Relocation to Suffolk of the four commands marks another win for the city after JFCOM was shuttered in August 2011, vacating buildings at Lake View.
Previously, Joint and Coalition Warfighting, a Joint Chiefs of Staff unit, moved into the largest building at the site, taking over many of JFCOM’s main tasks.