American Naval and Air Bases

February 16, 1939

Report Outline
Naval Bases in Current Defence Program
Bases and the Balance of Power in Pacific
Present and Proposed Pacific Naval Bases
Atlantic Coast and Caribbean Naval Bases

Naval Bases in Current Defence Program

The House Naval Affairs Committee on February 15 approved a bill for expansion of naval aviation facilities introduced January 19 by Senator Walsh (D., Mass.) and Rep. Vinson (D., Ga.), chairmen respectively of the Senate and House naval committees. The bill authorizes construction or improvement of 14 air bases, upon which it is proposed to make total initial expenditures of $67,000,000. Thirteen of the 14 projects, all but four of which are in the Pacific area, were chosen from among 15 proposed air bases recommended “for earliest completion” by a special naval board headed by Rear Admiral Hepburn. The additional project, originating in the House committee, is for an air base at Tongue Point, Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Function and Importance of Bases in Naval Defense

Current plans for establishment of new naval bases form an integral part of the program for strengthening the nation's defenses. Eases play a vitally important role in naval warfare. Furnishing——at strategically located points in the area to be defended——stations for the shelter, supply, and repair of ships of war, they increase the range and mobility of the instruments of defense and thus in effect augment the strength and striking power of those forces. Outlying bases are as essential to the air units of the navy as to its surface vessels——even more essential, since planes have not either the radius for sustained operation or the ammunition-carrying capacity of the relatively more self-contained surface ships.

Present emphasis upon creation of additional air bases results from the need of making adequate provision of such facilities to match the increased importance of the air arm of naval defense. At a time when virtually all components of the navy are undergoing expansion, it is especially important to repair deficiencies in air-base facilities to insure the operation at maximum efficiency not only of the expanded air force but of the naval combat force as a whole.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Military Bases
Sep. 30, 2016  Closing Guantanamo
Feb. 15, 1980  American Military Strength Abroad
Sep. 14, 1960  Foreign Bases: Declining Asset
Jan. 30, 1957  Future of Overseas Bases
Jul. 09, 1951  Overseas Bases
Jun. 16, 1944  Outlying Bases
Feb. 16, 1939  American Naval and Air Bases
Military Bases