News: Historic military bases combine to form all-service joint base in D.C.
Story by Joseph P Cirone
JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, D.C. – Two historic military bases along the Potomac River in the nation’s capital combined into a single joint base, hosting elements of all five armed services and various federal agencies.
Years of planning, followed by a gradual transition of installation management functions performed by civilian, military and contract personnel at Naval Support Facility Anacostia and Bolling Air Force Base, culminated in the smooth transition of base operating support management under a single, Navy-led joint military command, known as Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.
JBAB Commander, Navy Capt. John Sears and Vice Commander, Air Force Col. Roy-Alan C. Agustin assumed the leadership roles of the newly formed command at a special ceremony on the JBAB ceremonial lawn. JBAB Executive Director, Terence Wise and Chief Master Sgt. Trae King round out the installation’s command section.
Sears’ last assignment was Commanding Officer, Naval Support Activity Washington, which included installation management oversight of the historic Washington Navy Yard; NSF Anacostia and the NSF Naval Research Laboratory, all in Washington. and NSF National Maritime Intelligence Center in Suitland, Md. Agustin’s last assignment was Vice Commander, 11th Wing and Bolling Air Force Base.
Air Force District Washington Commander, Maj. Gen. Darrell Jones and Naval District Washington Commandant, Rear Adm. Patrick J. Lorge participated in the ceremony, along with ceremonial and musical elements of the Navy and Air Force. Military members, civilian employees and guests of all five armed forces attended the ceremony.
Rich history of service to the community, country and the world
The installation has been a Department of Defense property since 1917. From its beginning, the installation has included the Army Air Corps (predecessor to today’s Air Force) and Navy aviation and support elements. Not long after its acquisition by the military, the single installation evolved into two separate, adjoining bases; one Army (later Air Force) and one Navy. Over the years, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard units, as well as DOD and federal agencies also found the installation to be an ideal place to operate from.
With NSF and BAFB sharing a common boundary, military and congressional leaders recognized the opportunity to reduce duplication of efforts and facilities requirements; better utilization of facilities and infrastructure and consolidation and optimization of existing and future service contract requirements, capable of generating financial savings.
The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommendations resulted in congressional legislation ordering the consolidation of the two adjoining bases into a single joint base – one of 12 joint bases formed in the country.
As a single entity, JBAB employs nearly 14,000 military and civilian personnel, many of whom contribute countless hours performing community service and helping enrich the lives of adults and children in the surrounding neighborhoods, communities and schools.
The 905 acre military installation, located in southeast D.C., has a rich history, including service to the country in peacetime and in war; serving as the hub for humanitarian efforts to aid other nations; aiding early military and civil aviation pioneers in the exploration of airline routes, procedures and tactics; the testing of military aircraft and the hosting of high level dignitaries, heads of State and Presidents.
As the center of Air Force and Navy ceremonial support, among other missions, its service to the country, active-duty, reserve, retired and visiting military, as well as personnel deployed around the world, continues.
Full operating capability reached
Since the BRAC legislation was enacted, Air Force and Navy planners, support personnel and leaders have steadfastly worked to ensure a smooth transition to JBAB. The transition began with an initial operating capability on Jan. 31, when certain installation support functions began to transfer to the joint base construct. The last of the functions transferred Oct. 1.
“We're in the business of facilitating the missions of others. We were two services performing two great roles, wearing different uniforms. We basically did the same things, but sometimes we called them different names. We’ll provide the same service – but now in a joint fashion,” Sears said.
During the months leading up to the ceremony, Sears expressed the command’s vision to be the premier joint base. He and his staff have already begun working to ensure the achievement of that vision.
“I know with all of the great people on our joint team, there's no way that we can go wrong,” Sears concluded.