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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

Camp Pendleton Innovations: Reducing Cost and Streamlining Processes

By Staff Sgt. Kevin Maynard | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | April 27, 2017

Marine Corps Installations - West, comprised of several bases and air stations, provides training and infrastructure to maintain mission readiness throughout the Southwestern United States.

Although these lands are an invaluable resource to the Department of Defense, the cost of supplying energy, maintaining, and operating these installations is high.

Accordingly, leaders continuously look for ways to be responsible with taxpayer dollars and streamline processes through several innovative measures.

In-Kind Consideration in Real Estate Agreements

When land on a DoD installation is leased to a non-federal entity, that land is typically leased at fair market value. Under the provision of In-Kind Consideration, the third party can provide a service to the installation in lieu of a cash payment.

A recent example of this type of service involved the San Diego Gas and Electric Company. SDG&E leases property aboard Camp Pendleton for their transmission infrastructure that supports customers not on the base. During a recent power outage effecting residents of Camp Pendleton, SDG&E was engaged to provide forensics and repair capability to the faulty electric system.

Steven Wolfe, Facilities Director, MCI-West, said these agreements benefit the installation by providing services to the base that would otherwise cost money to contract out.

“The authority to execute these types of agreements is somewhat new” said Wolfe. “SDG&E is the first that we have worked with and it helped us out tremendously during the power outages at Stuart Mesa Housing.”

By using the In-Kind Consideration, Camp Pendleton leaders saved time and money during the outage.

Intergovernmental Service Agreements

Intergovernmental Service Agreements, or IGSA’s, are a newer concept consisting of a partnership between DoD installations and their local governments. The idea of an IGSA is for a local municipality to provide services to the installation and vice versa.

“IGSA’s are really new,” said Wolfe. “In the case of Barstow, they have a couple of places where they take water out of the ground to treat and pre-treat their wastewater. These processes require sampling and testing. The current contract requires someone from Pendleton to head to Barstow to conduct this sampling.”

Under the proposed IGSA, the city of Barstow would be able to conduct the sampling for Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow; saving the Marine Corps nearly $400,000 in the process.

“IGSA’s are an authority specifically to work with your local municipalities,” said Wolfe. “Really, the idea is to work together with local communities in order for our installations to be more responsive to problems and to benefit our neighbors as well.”

Similar partnerships have existed in the form of mutual aid for some time, however mutual aid encompasses emergency services, such as fire or police support. These agreements would have a specific support requirement outside of emergency services.

Industrial Control Systems as a Service

Industrial Control Systems, or ICS’s, are network systems that monitor and control utility systems, metering and digital control systems in a building for lighting and environmental controls.

“The simple one is a home,” said Wolfe. “You can have a smart phone that controls your home’s temperature, lights and things of that nature. Industrial control systems are just on a much larger scale.”

According to Wolfe, these systems would reduce costs for installations.

“Where it’s really valuable is with water and waste water,” said Wolfe.

The current scenario requires several Camp Pendleton facilities workers to manually monitor and maintain reservoir levels around the base. With three workers monitoring 28 reservoirs around Camp Pendleton, the cost is high.

With an ICS, the cost would be reduced by allowing a worker to monitor levels from one control area.

“There aren’t a whole lot of innovative ideas in terms of facilities maintenance,” said Wolfe. “Plumbing is plumbing. This would be a way for us to significantly reduce costs on labor and manpower requirements and still provide the same, if not better, capability by allowing one worker to monitor the reservoirs from one location.”

Wolfe added that sewer lift stations work under the same concept.

Camp Pendleton’s 73 lift stations require constant monitoring to prevent waste water spillage. This requires four workers monitoring the stations 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. An ICS would save on manpower here as well.

Wolfe added, however, that acquiring systems of this type as a service, rather than purchasing the whole system, would save time and money in the process.

“The tricky part to these is in terms of cyber security,” said Wolfe. “These are information systems that have various requirements aboard DoD installations to prevent cyber-attacks.”

“If I buy the system, I am under obligation to provide several cyber and funding documents for them to be approved,” added Wolfe. “And rightfully so. Cyber security is a major concern for the Marine Corps; it’s a real threat. However, if I contract the system as a service, the control system does not need to be connected to any [Marine Corps Enterprise Network]. They would be a stand-alone system with limited vulnerability to cyber-attacks or loss of information.”

According to Wolfe, contracting the system as a service allows for payment of the system to come out of utility funds as opposed to Procurement Marine Corps, or PMC, funding. This streamlines the procurement and installation process of the system.


Marine Corps Installations – West’s energy policy states that Microgrids are an essential element for sustaining uninterrupted power, empowering the installation to transition seamlessly between various sources of supplied energy and directly support installations facilities and non-tactical vehicles.

“A Microgrid is a discrete energy system consisting of distributed energy sources and loads capable of operating in parallel with, or independently from, the main power grid,” said Michael Daily, former communications strategist with the base energy department.

“Think of them in terms of Power Generation, storage, and controls,” said Wolfe. “On similar systems, they also have the ability to monitor whether or not to generate their own power or to pull from local power plants. The system monitors the price of energy and determines which is more cost effective.”

Microgrids are more reliable than a back-up generator and typically produce their own energy. In the case of Camp Pendleton, through solar power.

“If the power went down in all of Southern California, we would be able to use whatever power was stored throughout the day to keep us up and running,” said Wolfe. “We would still have back-up generators on hand just in case, but these systems are more reliable.”

Technicians can manage energy savings and energy security at the same time using an integrated command and control system.
Wolfe added that the control of these systems or nothing more than an ICS.

Microgrid development remains one of MCI-West’s objectives in securing a supply of energy that is necessary to meet the energy security and energy savings goals of MCI-West installations.