San Diego

New Security Policy Limits Details on Navy Homecomings, Deployments

The USS Decatur returned to San Diego after several months at sea. In the past NBC 7 would be there to show you the happy homecoming, the hugs and the kisses, but that’s changed following a new security policy.

In the last several months, the Navy has not publicized all of the military deployments or homecomings in San Diego or other parts of the world. So, our cameras were not there to capture all of the welcome home signs brought by family and friends in this military town as we’ve done for years.

Visuals that Nicole Nyffenegger said she enjoyed seeing on television.

“Just to be able to see the expression of like the family members waiting being so surprised,” Nyffenegger said.

The Navy said the lack of notice for these deployments and homecomings is due to “operational security reasons,” according to U.S. Third Fleet spokesperson Lt. Rochelle Rieger.

This is part of the 2018 National Defense Strategy put in place by the Trump administration and then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

It called for the military to be less predictable and more agile. Part of the “dynamic force employment” concept will change the way the department uses Joint Force to provide proactive and scalable options for priority missions.

“Don't you think people should know that servicemen are coming home to recognize their service?” said San Diego resident Daimon Mussell.

Some military families told NBC 7 they wished we were there, but that they also understand.

“Safety first. Especially in our homeland, we have to be careful what we do now. That's just the way the world is now,” said Navy veteran Godfrey Ramirez.

But Mussell thinks by keeping the cameras away sends a different kind of message to those who want to do us harm.

“I don't think you should change your way of life because of that. That's were fighting against, right?” he said.

USS Decatur's commanding officer, Cmdr. Bob Bowen, spoke with NBC 7 about the guided missile destroyer’s time at sea.

“This deployment highlighted every capability that dynamic force employment provides,” Bowen said. “I am extremely proud of my crew for their hard work and dedication, and we are excited to be home.”

As for future homecomings, Rieger said, information on when and where forces are will be released on a case by case basis.

Contact Us