One-year anniversary for Joint Base Charleston

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A year ago this month, Charleston Air Force Base and Naval Weapons Station Charleston became one military team. Both installations turned into Joint Base Charleston.

High ranking officials talked about the changes and challenges of combining both operations.

It was one of the first military mergers that came from the BRAC commission's 2005 recommendations. More than 21,000 military, civilian and contractor personnel came together under Joint Base Charleston.

Air Force Col. Richard McComb and Naval Cmdr. Raymond Drake are still working together to integrate and improve military operations a full year after Joint Base Charleston was formed.  They say the mission is successful.

"We transferred over a thousand facilities and over 16,000 acres of property over to the Air Force. And it's all been done relatively seamless," Col. McComb said." The services have not ceased."

"We all, at the end of the day, are striving to get the same mission done. So it's just been a matter of kind of learning the nuances from each different service culture and then figuring out 'Ok we're talking the same language here,'" Cmdr. Drake said.

Both officers agree that their military branches offer something to help the other.

"They're a large base. So the Navy gets the leverage off of that," Cmdr. Drake said."And then the Air Force gets to use some of the Navy lessons learned and best practices from the Navy side. So overall, we've kind of taken all of the good elements and eliminated some of the redundancies."

"Benchmarking those great programs in each of the individual services that applied across the joint base has been one of the real, I think, success stories of the joint basing," said Col. McComb.

Still, leaders say more work needs to be done.

"The mission effectiveness hasn't dropped off at all.  It's just working through some of those small little admin, you know, snafus you get every once in a while," Cmdr. Drake said."And I'm confident that as we move forward those will basically just go away."

"There's just a few things out there that need working yet.  But this has been a successful experiment and I think has worked very well," Col. McComb said.

Joint Base Charleston encompasses more than 23,000 acres covering 37 square miles. It's one of 11 other joint basing efforts across the country.

Copyright WCSC 2011. All rights reserved.