Guantanamo Bay Naval Station Fast Facts
In early 2002, the US Department of Defense (DOD) authorized the relocation of the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which houses many important national security detainees. In November of that year, DOD designated the facility a naval facility, but the relocation and subsequent construction necessitated the change, as DOD officials did not want to be viewed as the only authority responsible for the new facility.
From the very beginning, there were concerns about how the facility would be run. Many of the issues in this section are based on early reports and testimony given to the US Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs in 2002 and early 2003. The most recent Congressional hearings on the Navy base, conducted by the US Senate Committee on Armed Services, took place in 2003. The testimony of the witnesses in those hearings was used as a basis for this section, as well as for the additional information in the DOD Accountability Act report and some of the articles related to the facility.
The US Navy originally proposed building the new facility on land occupied by the barracks. After a change in leadership and a change of heart about the land, the facility was built on a barge, and the facility was moved to the ocean floor.
Navy officials stated that during construction of the facility, the Navy and contractor hired by the Navy found anomalies in the waterline of the barge. Further tests by the contractor, which were later found to be incomplete, led to further investigation, which resulted in the installation of several additional buoy buoys. The barge was then dragged to a new location near the existing aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Panama Canal. The Navy announced the construction of the facility under the base name “Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.”
The original relocation plan called for building two barracks for each of the 100 to 150 Naval Prisoners of War, as well as three separate barracks for the Navy’s own maintenance crew. One of these two barracks would