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NEWS | Nov. 28, 2003

CNI Merges Environmental Regions

By Journalist 1st Class (SW) Jason McKnight, Navy Region Southwest Public Affairs Navy Region Southwest

The recently established Commander, Naval Installations (CNI) Environmental Program Director is wasting no time merging together the Navy's environmental programs and people into a cohesive, single entity.

All 16 Navy regions were represented by their regional environmental coordinators (RECs) at a conference aboard Naval Submarine Base Point Loma in November, where they discussed CNI's vision to build common business practices and processes, and to manage and execute environmental programs.

"We're streamlining to achieve compliance with regulations to better support Navy operational commands' core missions," said Scott Markert, director, environmental program management for CNI. "The better our practices, the better our efficiency and lower the cost of doing business."

CNI's management of shore programs from current installation management claimants (IMCs) will relieve some of the burden from the IMCs so they can focus more on their primary mission.

IMC RECs have, up to this point, reported to 16 different chains of command, such as Commander, 3rd Fleet and Navy Region Southwest (NRSW). Many had similar practices and methods of reporting, because the tasks assigned to one REC aren't radically different from another REC.

"They weren't doing anything wrong, just differently," said Markert. "What we're doing is looking at each REC's methods to find the best business practices. When we determine what works best, we'll standardize throughout CNI's environmental program. Regions will keep their own assets, but use CNI guidance and regulations."

Being responsible for shore installations worldwide means CNI's RECs have many different tasks and laws to follow.

"We're responsible for compliance to regulations, both national and international, reduction of pollution and conservation of not just resources, but also endangered species and historical sites," said Markert. "Merging 16 different RECs will make all our jobs easier, because we'll have one single chain of command to report to and request guidance and aid from."

Markert says CNI will be the single point of contact for any environmental emergencies and for routine jobs that are so large or complex that one REC just can't handle it alone.

"I've never seen a group who didn't know each other come together as quickly and as easily as this one," said Peter Kennedy, NRSW's environmental program manager. "Our managers are coming together for the common good."