NAVFAC: A Time of Great Opportunity

Anchors aweigh, or ashore, the mission is the same: support the Navy, the nation and our warfighters.
By Rear Admiral Kate Gregory, P.E., CEC, USN

Seabees with NMCB 5 work alongside Republic of Philippines Navy Seabees to build a new school in Palawan, Philippines. Construction Civic Activity Detail Operations demonstrate U.S. commitment to host and partner nations, develop enduring relationships and improve local infrastructure. U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY CONSTRUCTION ELECTRICIAN CONSTRUCTIONMAN QUENNIE MAY BUMATAY

While the U.S. Navy and all military services are facing tough fiscal challenges, this is an exciting and dynamic period that provides an opportunity to make a significant and lasting difference.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) is fortunate to have an exemplary team of Civil Engineer Corps officers, Seabees and civilians, along with our contractor partners, who are on the job—24/7—building and maintaining sustainable facilities, delivering utilities and services, and providing expeditionary combat force capabilities to Navy and U.S. Marine Corps commanders wherever and whenever needed. Building on the foundation laid by Rear Adm. Chris Mossey, P.E., USN (Ret.), I recently issued updated strategic direction for our NAVFAC team. Our strategy for the coming years is intended to provide our organization with the flexibility to adjust to changes in our nation’s defense posture, advances to technology and fewer resources—the latter of which is placing great pressures on the Department of Defense (DOD). During my tenure, NAVFAC will focus on three strategic areas.

  1. Enable the Warfighter. Deliver quality, timely and cost-effective products and services to enable the global warfighter.
  2. Act Judiciously. Make decisions and execute work based on sound analysis that reinforces fiscal responsibility.
  3. Maintain Readiness. Advance the talent and initiative of our highly capable, diverse workforce.

Our most important priorities are: 1) ensuring that the Navy’s shore infrastructure enables the mission of the Department of the Navy (DON) today and in the future; and, 2) ensuring that DON maintains a ready and motivated Civil Engineer Corps and NAVFAC team to provide the full spectrum of facilities and expeditionary engineering expertise to commanders during peace and conflict. I am confident about the way ahead as we pursue these important objectives. 

The following are some major projects and initiatives we are working on to enhance the readiness of Navy and Marine Corps commanders worldwide: 


We will be placing greater attention on accountability, affordability and total cost of ownership. We will use our acquisition methodology to ensure that, working with industry, we provide the most cost-effective facilities and services needed to achieve the mission. Additionally, industry will see increased competitive actions to ensure more opportunities for small businesses. 

More than 10 years ago, NAVFAC shifted from an “Invitation for Bid” method of contract procurement to “Best Value Source Selection,” resulting in higher quality facilities for our operating forces. The practice of using Best Value Source Selection will continue; however, NAVFAC is implementing an aggressive cost posture for future facility procurements. We are shifting the focus of our source selections, placing more importance on price over higher technical quality. This will achieve an acceptable level of facility quality at minimum cost. 

There are two types of Best Value Source Selection procurements: Tradeoffs and Low Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA). NAVFAC recently had applied the tradeoffs methodology to most projects, which allowed us to obtain the best technical solution by the best performer. Although price is considered in the evaluation, the tradeoff, as the name implies, allows the Navy and Marine Corps to receive facilities with costeffective, life-cycle technical benefits within the programmed amount but not available in the lowest cost proposal. 

LPTA provides us with some flexibility to have technically acceptable proposals without having to analyze tradeoffs. Given the current fiscal climate and a need to be judicious with each dollar, we will look for more opportunities to employ LPTA. Using LPTA, NAVFAC selects evaluation factors that have a specific level of acceptability. Once companies that present their offers pass this level of acceptability, the contract is awarded to the lowest-priced proposal.


In 2012, NAVFAC exceeded all small business goals, one of the reasons why the command received DON Secretary’s Cup for excellence in small business programs. We are very proud of this accomplishment and view a strong small business program as fundamental to our facilities strategy. NAVFAC is a champion of small business opportunities, while meeting the challenges of the Secretary of Defense’s Better Buying Power Initiatives, established by memorandum on Sept. 24, 2010. 

Look for changes in NAVFAC’s overall small business strategies to include increased competition, while leveraging contract awards across all socio-economic small business programs. 


NAVFAC is investing considerable effort toward meeting critical and ambitious federal energy goals. Our 2013 efforts will focus on building and maintaining strategic partnerships with industry, improving inter-governmental coordination and collaboration, and developing and executing large-scale renewable energy projects. 

Inter-governmental collaboration. Our relationship with the Department of Energy (DOE) continues to mature. Our Geothermal Program Office is working closely with DOE offices to conduct joint site visits to DOD lands for a follow on, in-depth analysis to identify potential Navy sites for research, development and demonstration activities to support renewable energy opportunities. We are collaborating with DOE’s Water Power Program to further the development and use of wave energy technology. 

Alternative Energy Investment. By 2020, DON will produce at least 50 percent of shore-based energy requirements from alternative sources and 50 percent of DON installations will be Net Zero. The Navy’s ashore strategy is to watch, partner and lead in developing alternative energy technologies that are appropriate to each base and region. We will continue pursuing energy efficient upgrades to buildings and facilities. 

Energy Efficient Acquisition. Evaluation of energy factors is mandatory when awarding contracts for systems and buildings. We are creating a standardized process for determining life-cycle energy costs, fully-burdened cost of energy, and other energy related characteristics of potential platforms, weapons systems and buildings. 

Contractors are being encouraged to minimize energy footprint and factor energy into the acquisition decision making process. 

Non-Tactical Petroleum Use. DON is focused on reducing petroleum use in the commercial vehicle fleet by 50 percent by 2015. We plan on making greater purchases and use of flex fuel vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and neighborhood electric vehicles. We also are expanding our inventory of alternative fuel infrastructure to support these vehicles. 

Energy Investment Initiatives. Our focus remains on sustainability, environmental stewardship and reduced total ownership costs—and we are re-structuring our technical specifications accordingly. We have invested in facilities and utility system upgrades to measure and improve energy and water performance, and provide greater energy security and compliance. We are increasing our collaboration with industry and using innovative contracting tools such as power purchase agreements, enhanced use-leases, and leveraging third-party financing vehicles, which are mutually beneficial to the Navy, developers and investors. While these initiatives are challenging to implement, expanded use of them is critical to future success. 

Seabees with NMCB 5 work alongside Republic of Philippines Navy Seabees to build a new school in Palawan, Philippines. Construction Civic Activity Detail Operations demonstrate U.S. commitment to host and partner nations, develop enduring relationships and improve local infrastructure. U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY CONSTRUCTION ELECTRICIAN CONSTRUCTIONMAN QUENNIE MAY BUMATAY

Expeditionary Energy. NAVFAC has undertaken several efforts to increase combat capability by reducing overall consumption of energy, decreasing reliance on fossil fuels and increasing the use of alternative energy for deployed units. To minimize the logistics tail for fuel and water resupply, we fielded solar refrigeration systems, universal small battery charging systems, portable water purification systems, and 3-kW and 70-kW energy generation systems to Navy SEAL Teams. We also have conducted demonstrations of light tactical vehicles with on-board vehicle power. This capability provides on-demand electrical power (from 10-kW to 120-kW based on vehicle size and movement) with minimal footprint. We are retrofitting existing graders and dozers with precise blade control and GPS survey capability to achieve up to 40 percent fuel savings and increased operational capability on these platforms. 


NAVFAC is adapting basic facility criteria for projects that are located in more austere environments. This initiative optimizes space, finishes and amenities commensurate with shorter occupant durations and a reduced facility service-life requirement. The criteria are based on applicable building codes and United Facilities Criteria (UFC). The intent is to build austere facilities with the lowest total ownership costs possible, including purchasing alternative local goods that meet appropriate quality standards. The facilities should be sustainable, using local products that can be maintained locally whenever possible. These products also should be energy efficient to the point where they are cost-effective within their expected life span. 

Sustainable Facilities. NAVFAC continues to optimize high-performing facility requirements with a focus on sustainability and total ownership costs. We led a triservice effort that developed UFC 1-200- 02: High Performance and Sustainable Building Requirements. The document provides sustainable, cost-effective design and construction requirements for new construction, renovation and repair projects. Requirements were evaluated to ensure lifecycle, cost-effective solutions in areas such as energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, stormwater management and building commissioning.

NAVFAC also is leading a tri-service team that developed a Total Ownership Cost (TOC) template to quantify TOC of a design-build proposal based on a concept design. The template focuses on the building components that are the most significant energy and sustainment cost-drivers. For the first time, this will allow us to have companies compete for the lowest TOC as a technical evaluation factor in our designbuild requests for proposals. We recently awarded our first two design-build TOC pilot projects with favorable results. We plan to solicit industry feedback that will enable us to decide on the general implementation of the template approach this spring. 

Land Use Planning. NAVFAC land use planners and community plans and liaison officers continue to support our warfighters’ ability to test and train through the acquisition of buffer lands to mitigate or prevent incompatible development in areas surrounding our installations and ranges. While our buffering efforts have met with great success, we are seeking to protect compatible land uses on a larger landscape scale, which requires a new approach to partnering. To meet our compatible land use goals, we need to increase and diversify our partnerships. This includes engaging large corporate landowners, such as timber management investment organizations and real estate investment trusts. 


In October 2012, DON published a Notice of Intent for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to assess potential environmental impacts of accommodating a reduced number of Marines on Guam, approximately 5,000 compared to the originally planned relocation of 8,600. This is expected to be completed in 2015. Multiple construction projects funded by the governments of Japan and the United States are underway to support these efforts, and additional contracts may be awarded as projects are approved and funds authorized. 

Navy Seabees are in more demand today than ever before. In 2013, Seabees are busy around the world supporting fleet theater security cooperation missions, responding to natural disasters, and providing humanitarian assistance to countries in need. In the Horn of Africa, Seabees are bringing clean water to the drought-stricken regions of Dire Dawa and Shinelle. In El Salvador, Guyana, Peru, Bosnia, Croatia and Haiti and numerous countries around the world, Seabees are repairing and constructing new schools, medical clinics and water distribution centers. This past fall, 258 Seabees helped citizens of New Jersey and New York recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. 

Seabees continue to support contingency operations throughout Afghanistan, Kuwait and Bahrain. Projects include construction of camps, combat outposts and forward operating bases; repairs to roads, airfields and bridges; building renovations; and force protection upgrades. Seabees continue to participate in civic action projects around the world to foster positive community relations and nation-building. 

On March 1, First Naval Construction Division (1NCD), the headquarters organization for the Seabees, began a realignment initiative to improve efficiencies. 1NCD recently merged with the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and was consequently disestablished. The official decommissioning ceremony will be May 31. This change improves headquarters alignment and consolidates the direct, formal relationship between the expeditionary forces and Fleet Forces Command/Pacific Fleet. Naval Construction Force command and control will be consolidated into two Naval Construction Groups—one for the Pacific and one for the Atlantic. 


As our Navy faces significant fiscal challenges now and in the coming years, we need to use every dollar judiciously and find cost-saving solutions with our industry partners. The creativity and innovation of our workforce and industry partners will be essential as we work to design, build and maintain the most effective shore platforms for the Navy and Marine Corps team. 

This is an opportunity for all of us to really make a difference. We will continue to be ever-mindful that we serve a larger purpose than ourselves, as we remain focused on our support for our Navy and our nation. 

Rear Adm. Kate Gregory, P.E., CEC, USN, is NAVFAC Commander and Chief of Civil Engineers. She can be reached through Virginia Bueno, NAVFAC Public Affairs; 202-685-1423, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..