Two guided missile destroyers — the USS John McCain (56) and USS John Paul Jones (53) — sit at their homeport of Naval Station Everett on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Two guided missile destroyers — the USS John McCain (56) and USS John Paul Jones (53) — sit at their homeport of Naval Station Everett on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Navy plans frigate shuffle to increase military ships in Everett

Concentrating a new class of frigates in Everett could lead to a decrease in sailors at the base over the next decade, according to a report released Friday.

EVERETT — The U.S. Navy wants to build infrastructure to house and train 2,900 sailors and civilians, as a fleet of new boats could be sailing into Everett over the next decade, according to an environmental impact assessment from the U.S. Navy released Friday.

The Navy wants to station the new sailors “plus their family members” in the area by 2026, with the military planning to homeport up to 12 Constellation-class guided-missile frigates by 2028.

Despite the arrival of new personnel, there could be an overall reduction in the number of people stationed at Everett Naval Station, with around 3,100 people gradually departing for reassignment in the same time frame. All of the current Navy ships in Everett would leave.

Overall, by 2037, the Navy plans for a net increase from 12 ships to 14 ships in Everett, according to the report. Currently, the Navy lists only 11 ships as homeported in Everett, counting two U.S. Coast Guard boats. The Navy did not immediately respond to a Daily Herald reporter’s question about the discrepancy.

Projections suggest 2,400 of the new Navy workers would be “military personnel.” Another 500 would be “additional military and/or civilian personnel” who would be “necessary to support homeporting the ships,” according to the report.

Due to an overall reduction in personnel, the Navy foresees no extra demand for housing the workers. In fact, the Navy forecasts a net decrease of 200 jobs. The Navy labeled the loss as an “adverse, but not significant, impact,” noting it represents less than 0.05% of Snohomish County’s workforce.

Under the plan, the Navy proposed two options for new infrastructure at the base on Everett’s waterfront.

• “Alternative 1” would add “a stand-alone building or an addition to an existing building that would be up to three stories” at about 50,000 square feet, as well as an roughly 41,000 square foot “addition” to the Fleet Region Readiness Center, to “provide additional classroom and training space.”

• “Alternative 2” would construct an “Administrative Support Facility” with a new 20,000-square-foot addition to an existing building, plus about 30,000 square feet of interior renovations in existing buildings.

Both options would add more infrastructure for stormwater management, electrical and mechanical utilities, plus road and parking resurfacing.

The Constellation-class guided-missile frigates are the U.S. Navy’s “new and improved class” of military ships. In June 2021, the Navy announced its intention to send a fleet of the ships to Everett. The frigates are capable of conducting air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and electromagnetic maneuver warfare. The goal is to provide the Pacific Fleet and naval forces with a greater capability to “deploy worldwide,” according to the draft environmental assessment from the U.S. Navy.

Under the proposed action, the new ships would be berthed at the station’s existing piers. As the new ships come in, the current Navy ships in Everett will be sent elsewhere, the report wrote.

In the draft environmental assessment released, the Navy considered the following factors: air quality; water resources; noise; biological resources; American Indian traditional resources; socioeconomics; and environmental justice.

The Navy’s analysis determined the proposed action and alternatives would not result in “significant environmental impacts,” making no major mitigation actions necessary.

Five other West Coast and Pacific naval bases were also considered to house the new vessels: Naval Base San Diego; Naval Base Ventura County Port Hueneme; Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam; and Naval Base Guam. All were considered a worse fit than Everett.

The Navy also considered homeporting the vessels at more than one base, but ultimately ruled against it because it “would require a duplication of manpower, ship berthing and maintenance.”

In 2019, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen released a report detailing why Naval Station Everett is an ideal location for future homeporting of vessels.

Everett’s station is the “center of the Pacific Northwest transportation network,” his report stated. Naval Station Everett also has no tidal restrictions, bridges or other major obstructions.

According to the new environmental assessment, the Navy considers Everett to have “the most modern shore installation in the United States, and one of only two Navy-owned deep-water ports on the West Coast of the continental United States.”

Everett is currently home to seven U.S. Navy guided missile destroyers, two guided missile cruisers and two U.S. Coast Guard vessels: a buoy tender and an 87-foot patrol boat.

“We are excited to have more ships call Snohomish County home,” said County Executive Dave Somers said Friday. “This will provide local jobs and opportunities for our business community. Naval Station Everett will continue to keep our country safe.”

Naval Station Everett first posted about the environmental report on its Facebook page Friday morning.

Meanwhile, public comment on the environmental assessment opened Friday and will close March 11. The Navy will host a meeting at 5 p.m. Feb. 27 at Hotel Indigo for members of the public to ask questions and submit comments on the proposal.

Jenelle Baumbach: 360-352-8623; jenelle.baumbach@heraldnet.com; Twitter:@jenelleclar.

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