Pentagon Marks Renovation Milestone as Navy Corridor Reopens
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2005 The ongoing Pentagon renovation project reached another milestone today with the reopening of the Executive Corridor of the Department of the Navy.
Dionel Aviles, undersecretary of the Navy, addresses onlookers who gathered for the reopening of the Department of the Navy Executive Corridor in the Pentagon's E-ring Aug. 10. During the past six years, members of the Navy executive staff were relocated throughout the Pentagon building until the renovations were complete. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
With the snip of a large pair of scissors, Dionel Aviles, undersecretary of the Navy, and John La Raia, assistant for administration, officially reclaimed the territory the Navy vacated six years ago.
Today, several freshly painted offices, lined with plush blue and gold carpet and blast-resistant windows, were opened for viewing on the 4th floor of the building's E-ring.
During a brief address, La Raia welcomed the reopening, saying it brings an end to quite a saga for the Navy, in which questions on how to go about the moving and renovation processes were often difficult to answer.
When the project began six years ago, planners had many factors to consider, he said. "Who are we going to move out to make room for the construction, and who do we have to keep in?" La Raia explained. "And when we move people back in, where are we going to put them? How do we optimize space, and how do we get maximum efficiency by putting people together functionally?" he added.
"Then we had to take into consideration the desires of the executives, and we had to work all those things together to come out with the reality of this construction," he said.
The new corridor represents the first major overhaul of the Navy executive offices since the service moved to the Pentagon in the 1940s, La Raia said. The Navy is the first service to have its executive corridor remodeled. Renovations are planned for the Army and Air Force executive corridors as well.
La Raia noted enhancements to the executive offices include increased security and other forces protection measures. Also included, he said are advanced electronics capabilities such as video teleconferencing.
Even the portraits of past Navy secretaries that line the walls were modernized, he noted. "We re-shot them in digital images and re-framed them. We want people that walk through here, look at these portraits of the past and realized they are standing in the presence of great tradition."
But the most significant factor of the new executive corridor, La Raia pointed out, is that it puts the offices of the Navy secretary and Marine Corps commandant in close proximity. "We are very proud of the Navy-Marine Corps team," La Raia explained. "So when the decision was made to bring the commandant down here, it sort of fulfilled the promise of the executive team, the secretary, the commandant and the (chief of naval operations) all together in one corridor in this part of the building. This is the Navy-Marine Corps team, and the synergy of that cooperative effort especially with the team that we have now, is tremendous."
Meanwhile, Aviles, getting a look at his new digs for the first time, said he was "impressed."
"My needs are small," he said. "I'm a former naval officer who's not used to having a lot of space. I'm sure my staff will find some furniture to move in here."
The newly remodeled corridor is part of the Pentagon's overall renovation project that began in 1995 and is slated for completion in 2010.