New Jersey's 11th Legislative District

Senator Jennifer Beck

Senator Jennifer Beck

Beck & Monmouth County Officials Oppose Civilian Housing at Naval Weapons Station Earle

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Senator Jennifer Beck, along with representatives from Congressman Christopher Smith’s office, Freeholder Lillian Burry, Colts Neck Committeeman Michael Fitzgerald and Tinton Falls Board of Education President Peter Karavites met with Captain Jay Steingold of Naval Weapons Station Earle to be briefed on the Department of Defense’s proposal to allow civilians to utilize housing located on Naval Weapons Station Earle.

Sen. Jennifer Beck and Monmouth County officials voiced their strong opposition to the Department of Defense’s proposal to allow civilian housing on NWS Earle. (Google Maps)

All officials in attendance voiced their strong opposition to Captain Steingold and Department of Defense officials to the plan and have received commitment from the Navy chain-of-command for a subsequent, follow-up meeting on the proposal.

“I am opposed, in the strongest possible terms, to the Navy’s plan allowing civilians to utilize Naval Weapons Earle housing. The current proposal involving members of the general public to be granted access to an active military weapons installation is a dangerous one, and I will fight tirelessly against it. The events of this past weekend only heighten the need for increased security at our military sites and I don’t believe that allowing non-military personnel on the base is a workable policy to ensure our area’s safety” said Senator Beck.

“Given the proximity to military personnel, civilians and their families—and especially in light of the Fort Dix five terrorist plot of a few years ago—the first question is how will they be properly and fully vetted,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) who represents communities surrounding Earle. “The second question, is how will they be properly and fully vetted?” said Smith, who helped lead the fight in 2010 when the Navy sought to open a different housing community, the Laurelwood Housing Units, on the base to unscreened and unaffiliated civilians in 2010. The Navy eventually abandoned the plan. “Let’s not have an attempt at a Laurelwood II,” Smith said. “Especially after the events of this weekend when we have seen acts of terrorism in our immediate area, we are calling on the Navy to be a good and prudent neighbor. We believe the Navy needs to find solutions that do not put the base and entire community in jeopardy. As we have in the past, we look forward to working with them and we need to be ever vigilant. That includes assessing the situation from a different perspective than was comfortable when this contract was signed in 2004.”

Freeholder Lillian Burry added that “residents have fought the privatization of Earle housing before and we will continue to do so. It is not in the area’s best interest for civilians to be housed at an active military site. The recent events in our area only serve to amplify the fact that these bases should be secured for military use only”.

“Colts Neck has many questions regarding the viability of this proposal and the impact it will have on our municipality. We have many unanswered questions and are adamantly opposed to all forms of the suggestion that civilians should be housed at Naval Weapons Station Earle” said Colts Neck Deputy Mayor Michael Fitzgerald.

“I am vehemently opposed to the current proposal to allow civilians to obtain housing at Earle and will work with my colleagues on the Tinton Falls Board of Education to explore all possible avenues to fight this proposal” said Tinton Falls School Board President Peter Karavites.

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