NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — Navy forces in Europe could begin shifting with the tide of the fleet’s transformation effort as early as this summer, the Commander of Navy Region Europe said this week.

Rear Adm. Stanley Bozin spoke to Stars and Stripes on Friday from Naples, Italy, to recap a three-day conference of high-ranking Navy officials at Rota.

The conference allowed commanders to trade updates on the effort to convert the fleet into a more streamlined, cost-effective force.

The meeting, one of several Bozin said the Navy in Europe likely will hold this year, drew the commanders from all the Navy bases in the region and Adm. Michael Mullen, Commander, Naval Forces Europe.

Bozin said it was “still premature” to talk about specific plans for the possible relocation of forces discussed at the conference, but said elements of the fleet may begin relocating soon.

“I think in the next six months to a year you’re going to see some muscle movement,” Bozin said.

“We’ll continue to look at the best place to place our forces.”

Bozin said he predicted there wouldn’t be substantial changes at the Navy’s major hubs in the region in the coming year, but did not elaborate on plans for smaller stations.

However, as a clue for bases such as Rota, currently in the midst of a number of construction projects, the admiral said the Navy isn’t investing money in bases it is considering closing.

Also at the meeting this week, commanders said the effort to “regionalize” the Navy in Europe by revamping its business practices has been moving forward as planned, Bozin said.

The Navy has been taking stock of everything from custodial services to unpopular Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs in its efforts to cut costs and overhaul its infrastructure in Europe, he said.

The effects of the “cultural change in the way we do business,” he said, “should be transparent [to sailors] other than they’ll see an increase in the overall level of services available.”

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now