NAWS officers speak to critical role CL plays in world events

NAWS officers speak to critical role CL plays in world eventsThe News Review is publishing a series of articles on the 2022 Economic Outlook Conference sponsored by the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce. These articles will include the addresses of the conference speakers. This week will be Navel Air Weapons Station China Lake Capt. Jeremy Vaughn – This year the outlook conference on Thursday the twenty-fourth of February, took place shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Speaker Captain Jeremy Vaughn, NAWS, China lake

Commanding Officer, as well as Dan Carreno executive director of NAWCWD referred to world events and the significance of China Lake and the Navy. Vaughn referred to the recent world events as the “elephant in the room” and stated

“As you saw on the news last night, you heard someone allude to that earlier. But the elephant in the room is lots of things going on in Europe, so, what we do together as a team to build this community and ensure the base continues its mission is extremely important to the United

States of America.”

Vaughn added that China Lake has long played a critical role in national defense.

“We have some pretty incredible work and some highly classified work going on at the base with some incredible engineers and workers.” At this point as you saw on the news that work is more important every day. China Lake and Ridgecrest answer the call of every war, every conflict since world war II 75% of the weapons used in all conflicts since world war II were developed, researched, and trained here.

Carreno, said that “I was watching the news most of the night, as I am sure many of you were, it was sort of surreal.”

“But we are ready, for whatever is going to happen, wherever the navy may be called to serve and support, I am confident we have the correct Data and will be ready to operate wherever we may be asked to go operate.”

Below is Capt. Vaughn’s prepared address.

The Indian Wells Valley is dominated by the China Lake naval installation, the U.S. Navy’s largest single landholding, an area representing 85 percent of total Navy land for weapons and armaments research, development, acquisition, testing and evaluation. The Navy is the largest employer in Ridgecrest, and second largest in Kern County.

The principal tenants on the base include the following commands:

• Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division

• Air Test and Evaluation Squadrons

• Marine Aviation Detachment

• Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detachments

• Naval Facilities Engineering Command

The largest tenant is the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) with 4,167 federal employees and total personnel including military and contractors of 4,783. The mission is to support the Navy’s Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation capabilities, and to provide cutting-edge weapons system development to support the warfighter.

The total federal civilian workforce at the base stands at 5,011. Including all tenants on base and all civilians and military, the total onboard China Lake workforce is currently at 6,271 personnel.

The Naval Air Station workforce additions over time have contributed meaningfully to the Indian Wells Valley economy principally through the additional spending on goods and services, including housing. The pandemic interrupted the steady growth of personnel. The very tight labor market has also contributed to hundreds of open positions unfilled at the base as of early 2022.

Average salaries for federal civilians located on the base are the highest of any sector in the economy of the Indian Wells Valley.

Laura Austin Photo: NAWS China Lake Commanding Officer Capt. Jeremy Vaughn speaks at Outlook 2022.

Story First Published: 2022-03-25