Then-Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer visited Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California and saw firsthand the earthquake damage to critical infrastructure as well as ongoing fleet support work performed by the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division during a four-hour tour Nov. 17, 2019.
“China Lake is a unique facility for the United States Navy and for DOD in general,” Spencer said. “It’s really impressive how the entire team here at China Lake reacted and responded to the conditions that they faced. They continue to do a spectacular job.”
During his visit, Spencer saw some of the worst damage on station at Hangar 3 and the China Lake Propulsion Laboratories, as well as the All Faith Chapel and the station gym. Spencer said the recovery approach should be holistic.
“We can say a missile motor is an absolute critical aspect that has to be repaired right now, but if the morale goes down the tubes because the gymnasium isn’t available, I have to balance that,” he said. “You can never focus on one aspect of the model; you have to focus on the whole model.”
NAWCWD Commander Rear Adm. Scott Dillon, and Executive Director Joan Johnson also introduced Spencer to some of the unique expertise and direct warfighter support work that make China Lake strategically important to the nation’s defense.
“We were honored to host Secretary Spencer for a short but productive visit at China Lake,” Johnson said. “I’m confident he left with a better understanding of the earthquake damage here, and the knowledge that we are moving forward with a sense of urgency to mitigate warfighting impacts.”
Editor’s note: Spencer was fired Nov. 24 by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. For more, visit https://www.aerotechnews.com/blog/2019/11/25/pentagon-chief-fires-navy-secretary-over-seal-controversy/