The 1,700-square-mile base “provides and maintains land, facilities and other assets that support the Navy’s research, development, acquisition, testing and evaluation (RDAT&E) of cutting-edge weapons systems for the warfighter,” according to its website.
An evaluation of around 3,600 of the installation’s buildings over 13 days found that repairing or replacing the damaged structures, which include hangars, repair facilities, offices, a laboratory, 22 ammunition magazines, an air traffic control tower, a gym and a pool, would cost around $2.2 billion, according to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest. The total repair and replacement plan, however, includes furniture, tools, communications and other equipment, hiking the cost up to $5.2 billion.
However, the figures are speculative at this point, and any repair funds would first have to be approved by Congress and the president.
The quakes caused cracks in the base’s buildings as well as damage to water pipes and electrical equipment. A laboratory used to test weapons technology was deemed unsafe, according to a report by the Navy Times. In fact, 20% of all buildings in the facility are currently unsafe or have restrictions on their use. Many of the facility’s buildings were built before 1980, with some even dating as far back as World War II, and thus did not meet modern earthquake safety standards.
"There was damage to a majority of the buildings and infrastructure," Capt. Mark K. Edelson, commanding officer of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest, is quoted as saying by the Navy Times.
The 6.4-magnitude tremor that struck 122 miles northeast of Los Angeles on July 4 was followed one day later by a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake that caused a fissure within the Little Lake fault zone in Southern California’s Indian Wells Valley area. At least 159 aftershocks of magnitude 2.5 or greater were recorded after the first earthquake on July 4. However, despite the magnitude of both earthquakes, there were no reported deaths as a result. The quakes did, however, result in several gas leaks and fires in Southern California.