President Biden’s nominee to be secretary of the Navy said he’s committed to working with the tribes, local officials and the Nevada delegation on plans to expand Naval Air Station Fallon.
Nevada Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., asked Carlos Del Toro last week about the proposed expansion of the air station during a committee hearing after she pointed out that the objections tribal officials, locals and the delegation had to the original expansion proposal were not cured by the Navy’s latest plan. The original proposal would have expanded Fallon to some 900,000 acres and restricted civilian access to much of the property.
The current Navy request includes a withdrawal of an additional 604,789 acres of additional public land and an acquisition of about 65,160 acres of non-federal land for the range modernization and expansion.
“It’s incredibly important to expand that naval air station,” he said. “In doing so, it is also equally important to respect the tribes that have sacred land there.”
He committed to meeting with the stakeholders including the tribes and to bring the Interior Department into the conversation as well.
Rosen also asked Del Toro for his commitment to fairly compensate the Walker River Paiute Tribe for the damage to 6,000 acres of their land in 1959 when live ordinance was dropped on it.
“I confirm that I fully commit to working with you and your staff on this incredibly important issue as well,” he said.
Born in Havana, Del Toro immigrated to the United States in 1962. Raised in the Hell’s Kitchen district of New York City, he attended New York City public schools and later received an appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1983.
As a naval officer throughout numerous tours of duty at sea, he served aboard a frigate, two destroyers, a cruiser, and an aircraft carrier deploying numerous times to the Mediterranean and Black Seas during the Cold War, to the Pacific, and to the Persian Gulf three times during Operation Desert Shield and Storm.
His shore assignments in the Navy included tours as a program manager with Naval Warfare Information Systems Command and the National Reconnaissance Office; as a student at the Naval Postgraduate School, the Naval War College, and the George Washington University; as Director of Training for the Aegis Training and Readiness Center; as a White House Fellow to Jack Lew and Sylvia Mathews Burwell at the Office of Management & Budget in the Executive Office of the President, and as the Senior Military Assistant to the Director of Defense Programs Analysis and Evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
In 1998, he was selected for command at sea and assigned as the commissioning commanding officer of the USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), then the nation’s newest destroyer. He was the first Hispanic American naval officer to have ever served as the first captain of an Aegis capable cruiser or destroyer. While in command, he steered the ship from christening, through its maiden voyage to commissioning and sea trials to its first deployment. He retired as a commander.