US Navy to Eliminate Combat Camera Units to Save Money

It’s not just news photographers that are having their positions eliminated to cut costs: military photographers are apparently in the same boat. The US Navy will be eliminating its two Combat Camera (COMCAM) units this year in order to save money and resources.

Navy Times reports that the two units of military photographers will be gone by October 1st in order to “cut costs and eliminate billets.”

Combat Camera photographers are trained to shoot both cameras and guns, and they’re tasked with shooting both military operations and stories about the Navy for the public. Here’s a document about the role of the units by The Defense Information School:

“Due to budget constraints… difficult decisions were made in order to ensure the resourcing of critical mission areas that support Navy’s expeditionary operations,” Navy spokesperson Lt. Lauren Chatmas tells Navy Times. “Other expeditionary mission areas took precedence over COMCAM.

“Therefore, as an overall cost savings measure, the decision was made to provide this capability to the fleet from the existing Navy Public Affairs Support Element command.”

Fleet Combat Camera is based in San Diego, California, and Expeditionary Combat Camera is based in Norfolk, Virginia.

“There was an opportunity to preserve the units in 2017 by reorganizing into a single Navy unit, but an inability to agree to terms of the consolidation prevented that effort from getting off the ground,” Navy Times reports. “Between the two combat camera units […] the cuts will eliminate four active-duty officer, 50 active-duty enlisted and 31 reserve enlisted billets.”

Image credits: Header photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist David Rush/U.S. Navy