Monday, January 4, 2010

Guard contract up for bid at NWS Earle admits Colts Neck base is a terror target

Naval Weapons Station Earle depends on outsource guards to augment base security, whether patrolling the 11,000-acre fence line, securing the main gate, or watching over the hundreds of bunkers housing high-powered military ordnance and Normandy Road on which these explosives travel. This is nothing unusual at military bases or unexpected, considering that domestic military forces are so spread thin by war abroad. To be sure, "outsourcing" is now embedded in our society and part of our vernacular.

The current team of contract security guards at NWS Earle is Myers Investigative, of Dunn, N.C., though the contract is up for bidding again, with at least 73 "interested vendors" according to Anyone interested in reading this mundane set of documents (or bidding on the contract itself) can access them at the Navy's NECO website.

(NOTE: We must remind NOPE supporters and other observers of last year's scathing Inspector General report on Earle's subpar oversight of the Myers the point where a prospective hire was found to have a criminal background).

Our cursory read of the bid documentation linked above (the submission deadline is January 20, 2010, for anyone interested) validates a primary NOPE contention that the Department of Navy is opening up the Laurelwood military houses on base to civilians against wiser judgement and to the severe detriment of base, local and national security. For, on page 1 of "Annex 4", the Contract Staffing Requirement clearly states that "this contract is for services required for Force Protection Condition (FPCON) B."

What is FPCON B, you ask? According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture website on anti-terrorism and force protection, FPC BRAVO (or B) "applies when an increased and more-predictable threat of terrorist activity exists. The measures in this Force Protection Conditions must be capable of being maintained for weeks without causing undue hardship, affecting operational capability, and aggravating relations with local authorities."

So at the same time the Department of Navy is admitting a threat to an important weapons facility, the DoN's top-notch decision-makers in Washington, D.C., are recommending unimpeded civilian housing and access to the 300 mostly vacant Laurelwood homes to civilians come September. And to make it work, the DoN admits in its Final Environmental Impact Statement in May 2009 that it will have to increase security forces. Amazing!

NOPE is hopeful that with the U.S. Senate (GAO) preparing to begin its own security and financial assessment of civilian housing plan at Earle, and the New Jersey Senate presumably passing companion legislation on the state level within the next week, that cooler heads will prevail at the Navy and that the DoN will buy out the Laurelwood contract and avoid a major headache for everyone, particularly itself and the security of its own dependents at Earle.

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