Kudos for Dave Anderson’s strong review of the many arguments for shifting the anticipated tripling of Growler practice to places off of Whidbey. He also pointed out the obvious: that placing all this essential Navy capability on a relatively flat island area, whose access is confined to an aging bridge on one end and a ferry on the other — both vulnerable to earthquake, tsunami and terrorism — is beneath the intelligence of a savvy war planner.
Let me add that there is even more folly, indeed deviancy, to this plan: The U.S. Navy relies on the Growler as its main asset for airborne electronic warfare. Growlers are considered a high-value unit and two fly with every U.S. military mission over enemy territory. Essentially all the electronic warfare-capable planes are home-ported in one geographic location, NAS Whidbey.
Only the Growler fleet, mind you, gets this treatment: all other Navy aircraft functions have at least two bases in the continental U.S. Single siting of any military function is a violation of the Technical Joint Cross Service Group (TJCSG) guidelines. A no-brainer major reason stated in the guidelines: “This will…provide continuity of operations in the event of unexpected disruption.” Hmmm, probably prompted by the Pearl Harbor experience. The Navy scrapped this strategy-101 tactic to continue a convenient use of Whidbey for its Noise of Freedom training despite the numerous burdens to Whidbeyites cited by Anderson and, yes, despite the clear lesson of Pearl Harbor.
To quote a president: “sad.”