Funding issues force cancellation of events

Lack of funding has forced the cancellation of two major events scheduled for early this year at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC).

The All-Navy Boxing Program, which would have brought at least five Navy boxers to the base Feb. 25 through March 29 for training, was suspended in January due to funding issues.

In addition, the 43rd Annual Collaborative Electronic Warfare Symposium, which would have brought about 200 military, government, academics and industry leaders to NBVC Point Mugu Jan. 29-31, was canceled.

Deputy Secretary of Defense (DSD) Ashton Carter issued a memo to all military departments Jan. 10 addressing budgetary uncertainties in fiscal year 2013.

The memo ordered an immediate civilian hiring freeze and a curtailment of travel, training and conferences, except for mission-critical activities.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, the president of the Association of Old Crows, referenced Carter’s memo in announcing the cancellation of the electronic warfare symposium.

“We understand that the DSD memo is affecting a majority of our community with their budgetary planning and ability to travel to conferences,” he wrote. “Due to the difficulty posed to our speakers and government attendees, this conference will be rescheduled in January 2014.”

The Association of Old Crows, which takes its name from a World War II code reference, sponsors the symposium each year in Ventura County. Last year’s event, held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, featured two admirals as guest speakers.

This year’s event, which had been slated for the Point Mugu Theater, was to include tours of the base, conducted by Naval Air Warfare Center-Weapons Division (NAWC-WD), and the keynote speaker was to be Rear Adm. Paul Sohl, commander of NAWC-WD and assistant commander for Test and Evaluation, Naval Air Systems Command.

Also scheduled to speak were the electronic warfare program officer for the Office of Naval Research, the commander of the Navy’s airborne electronic attack systems, a research analyst with the Joint Electronic Attack Compatibility Office and engineers from the Marine Corps and Air Force.

Johns Hopkins University, the Georgia Tech Research Institute, Raytheon, Envisioneering, Curtiss-Wright Controls, Agilent Technologies and ATK Defense Electronics Systems had planned to send speakers as well.

The Navy’s boxing program had already been scaled back before the Jan. 30 announcement that it was being canceled for 2013. The Navy Box-Off, a six-year tradition at NBVC that was scheduled for Jan. 26, was canceled at the start of the year when it was announced that the Armed Forces Boxing Championships wouldn’t be taking place.

At that point, the focus switched to the U.S. Nationals, with at least five Navy boxers planning to come to the boxing facility at NBVC’s Bee-Hive Gym to train for that April 6 event in Spokane, Wash. But with the travel curtailment, those plans hit the ropes as well.

Fred Morgan, athletic director for NBVC’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation program, said problems in the Navy’s boxing program echo organizational problems in amateur boxing as a whole, culminating in what he called “a lackluster performance” by the United States in the 2012 Olympics.

“Add the serious injuries in the last three years involving military boxers, then throw in a low turnout of qualified boxers, and you end up in the situation that we are in,” he said. “To see the decline of the sport at all levels is disheartening. Hopefully the program can bring itself off the mat and come back next year. But if not, we still have a wonderful boxing facility for our patrons.”

© 2013 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Commanding Officer

CAPT. LARRY VASQUEZ

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An estimated crowd of over 200 private industry professionals gathered at Wednesday’s Industry Forum at the Embassy Suites in Oxnard to hear from high-ranking civilian and military personnel from Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Port Hueneme Division about doing business with the Navy.

Thursday, April 24, 2014
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