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Defense industry asked to do more with less

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The USS Coronado was commissioned at Naval Air Station North Island in April. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Military needs are being reshaped as the U.S. armed forces undergo a period of transition amid a fiscally constrained environment. Industry partners have been asked to be adaptive and innovative in fulfilling escalating needs for reconnaissance and surveillance systems, unmanned vehicles and cybersecurity solutions -- for less money.

Camp Pendleton Naval Replacement hospital officially opens
A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony held in January officially opened the 500,000-square-foot, four-story replacement hospital. Clark/McCarthy completed the $455 million project more than $100 million under budget and six months ahead of schedule. The state-of-the-art hospital employs a staff of around 1,100, and serves 70,000 active-duty and veteran military members and their families.

Blue Angels air shows restored

When federal budget cuts forced the U.S. Navy to ground the Blue Angels last year, it marked the first time since the Korean War that the iconic blue-and-gold jets wouldn’t be performing in the nation’s skies. The grounding saved $20 million; however, the flight demonstration team once again took to the skies when it kicked off its 2014 season with a March 15 show at Navy Air Station El Centro, its winter training home. The Blue Angels return to San Diego on Oct. 4 and 5 with a stop at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

SPAWAR: region’s economic powerhouse
According to an economic impact study released in April, the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command will pump more than $1.7 billion into the local economy this year. A hub for the region’s cybersecurity sector, SPAWAR is directly or indirectly responsible for more than 19,000 jobs countywide. The synergy that exists between SPAWAR and the region, which includes a cluster of more than 100 cyber companies and a vast eco system of contractors and research firms, is key to establishing San Diego as a recognized cyber technology center of excellence.

Navy commissions USS Coronado
The littoral combat ship USS Coronado, named in recognition of the city’s long-standing ties to the U.S. Navy, was commissioned at Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado in April. The Navy’s fourth littoral combat ship is designed to operate in littoral seas and shallow water to counter mines, submarines and fast surface threats in coastal regions. Capable of operating alone or with an associated strike group, it will also serve as a platform to launch and recover manned and unmanned vehicles. As part of the U.S. 3rd Fleet, the Coronado’s homeport is San Diego and has a crew of 40.

-Compiled by Cameron Leigh James. James is an Encinitas-based freelance writer.

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