NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The Navy will move hundreds of jobs from Washington to Virginia over the next five years as it consolidates its transportation arm's headquarters into one location that is closer to the waterfront and fleet leaders.
The Navy said Thursday it will relocate all but a small group of Military Sealift Command staff from the Washington Navy Yard to Naval Station Norfolk. The move will cost about $31 million and is expected to affect up to 455 civilian employee positions, 30 active duty officer positions and 22 active duty enlisted positions.
The command's headquarters has been split between the two locations since 2012, with the Norfolk staff being responsible for crewing, training, equipping and maintaining government-owned and operated ships.
Military Sealift Command spokesman Nathan Potter said Rear Adm. Thomas Shannon, the group's commander, would be among those relocating to Norfolk.
"We're closer to everybody here. It's the best way. We'll be able to streamline our processes and cut costs," said Potter, who is already based in Norfolk.
Norfolk is the home to the world's largest naval base and several other Navy bases are also in the Hampton Roads area. U.S. Fleet Forces Command, which trains and provides forces around the world, is also headquartered in Norfolk.
Military Sealift Command is tasked with supporting the Navy's warfighting forces.
"MSC provides the gas, guns and groceries to the fleet," Potter said.
The command is in charge of about 110 civilian-crewed ships around the world, including two hospital ships that have responded to natural disasters. When the MV Cape Ray was pulled out of the Maritime Administration's reserve fleet to destroy Syria's chemical weapons, it was operationally under the control of Military Sealift Command until it got to Europe, where it was then under the command of fleet leaders there. The command also oversees a high-speed vessel, one of the Navy's newest ships and can quickly ferry members of all branches of the military and their equipment to hot spots around the world.
Several of the command's ships, including an oiler and a dry cargo ammunition ship, are currently participating in the largest amphibious exercise the Navy and Marines have put on in a decade off the coast of the southeast U.S.
Military Sealift Command has five regional commands that report to it, with offices in Norfolk; Point Loma, California; Naples, Italy; Manama, Bahrain; and Sembawang Wharves, Singapore.