By James Johnson, NAVFAC Far East Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Far East is celebrating National Public Works Week, which runs May 17-23.
More than 1,400 NAVFAC Far East public works employees serve U.S. Navy and Marine Corps installations in Japan, Korea, Singapore and the British Indian Ocean Territory (Diego Garcia).
“Public Works Departments are the backbone of an installation,” said Bob Andres, NAVFAC Far East public works business line coordinator. “They are responsible for the effectiveness and efficiency of the facilities shore establishment. National Public Works Week is an opportunity to recognize the professional effort from this often unheralded team, who make the facilities shore establishment work, and allow the warfighter to focus on their mission.”
Public Works Departments (PWD) are the service delivery platform to Installations and their tenant Commands. Installation commanding officers rely on the public works department to maintain existing buildings and roads, provide electricity, water, and sanitation services, oversee the construction of new infrastructure, plan for future requirements, prioritize work based on fiscal constraints, and ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations. In addition, the PWDs are expected to identify and implement creative solutions to achieve long-term goals, such as reduced energy demand.
This year’s Public Works Week theme “Community Begins Here” aptly captures NAVFAC Far East’s mission focus. Last year, NAVFAC Far East responded to 54,591 routine service calls and 3,385 emergency calls. These responses don’t just support Navy, Marine Corps and other Dept. of Defense commands, they directly contribute to quality of life for forward-deployed Sailors, Marines and their families.
A project at Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka, exemplifies this year’s Public Works Week theme. The PWD is working closely with installation departments such as fire, security, safety, and tenant commands to prepare the Negishi Family Housing complex for its planned closure and turnover to the Government of Japan. With the last resident expected to depart by December 2015, the PWD has been designated the lead to ensure the proper closure and layup of over 440 facilities and utility systems.
“Even though several of the functions required to transition the installation fall outside the PWD’s area of responsibility,” said Cmdr. Ben Miller, FLEACT Yokosuka public works officer. “Our commanding officer felt this significant undertaking should be coordinated by the PWD because the transition of the existing facilities and infrastructure will drive the installation’s overall turnover process.”
After the last resident departs in December, PWD Yokosuka employees will continue to ensure the successful transition of the Negishi Family Housing complex; they can be proud of their significant role in this historic undertaking.
NAVFAC Far East public works professionals are also at the forefront of executing cutting-edge energy projects for the Navy to help meet the Secretary of the Navy’s energy goals. Advanced metering, renewable energy, and residential energy conservation projects are helping to reduce the demand for energy, on and off base.
National Public Works week is a public education campaign by the American Public Works Association. Its aim is to raise public awareness of public works issues and employees who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for present and future generations.