Naval base touts facilities, discusses strategic plan
On Nov. 21, during an organized tour of Naval Support Facility Indian Head, the Naval Surface Warfare Cen- ter (NSWC) showcased some of its major facili- ties and programs that make the base unique and successful.
During a briefing at the NSWC Headquar- ters, Michael T. Adams, business director of NSWC IHEODTD, said the base is the sec- ond largest employer in Charles County behind the school system. With this in mind, the NSWC command has recently developed a strategic plan to make further base improvements over the next decade.
“The base has a new strategic plan and it lines up with the Navy’s plan to design and maintain superiority, and the NAVSEA Warfare Centers’
strategic business plan,” Adams said. “We are trying to grow this organization by 400 work years [400 more people] in the next 10 years. We think it is very doable, we think it’s very important to us to continue to grow.”
According to the Naval Surface Warfare Center, the base is an $800 million organization with 900 buildings and 1,900 employees, close to 800 of which are highly educated scientists and engineers.
The mission of the base is to provide soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen with information and technology to detect, locate, access, identify, render safe, recover, exploit and dispose of explosive threats. Adams said, in other words, finding EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) technol- ogy and rendering them safe. They have 16 industrial facilities or complex- es that show different ways to test explosives.
“We have a lot of facili- ties here that the Navy expects us to maintain,” Adams said. “We have ca- pabilities here that don’t get used all the time, but are very critical for the Navy to keep. And it’s not cheap. For us to continue to pay for that we need to have a large enough workforce and large enough revenue to pay for utility support and upkeep. That’s really the driver of why we feel like we need to get 400 stronger in 10 years.”
The Naval Surface War- fare Center plans to ac- complish this by focusing on three areas: reshaping its industrial complex; aggressively capturing research, development, test and evaluation opportunities in energetic systems; and consistently providing reliable, quality and affordable products and services for every- one who requests it from the naval base.
Adams said the base has five goals, 13 objec- tives and 80 initiatives, with half of the initiatives already underway. The five goals include: show- ing that facilities and utilities are critical; devel- oping new products and services to give to customers; establishing public private partnerships; sustaining and expanding what they are currently doing; and reinvigorating an interest in energetics across the Navy and Department of Defense.
“We think the Navy needs to invest more in [energetics] in the future,” Adams said. “Our adversaries are catching up and in some cases passing us when it comes to energetics research and development.”
During the tour, com- mand staff discussed the current development of explosives operations with the CAD/PAD (car- tridge actuated devic- es/propellant actuated devices) Joint Program Office, how robots are being used to render an operation safe in the field, and explained how its recent CITE (Centers of Industrial and Technical Excellence) designation will help the base develop public-private partnerships in the industry.
“We’ve signed two partnerships so far,” Adams said. “And there’s a couple more that are close to being signed that could be very significant and help the base out. We believe through the CITE designation plan we can get 100 out of the 400 work years that will be working here in Indian Head.”
Staff members present- ed a few of the ways they test explosives. The tour featured the Microelec- tromechanical Systems (MEMS) Lab with Dan Jean and John Hender- shot, the Detonation Sci- ence Facility with Rob Beagley, plus a look at a 420-gallon mixer with Stu Richman.
“The 420-gallon mixer is just one way of mixing explosives that we have,” said John G. Hungerford IV, Systems Integration Department, Naval Sur- face Warfare Center. “If there is any way in this country to make explosives, we can probably do it here at Indian Head. We have a wide ability to make explosives here. We also make Otto Fuel II here, which is torpedo fuel, and we are the only manufacturer of Otto fuel in the world used in all torpedoes in the Navy and our allies. Currently we are taking down our Otto fuel plant and we are putting a new modern plant in its place.”
Jeron Hayes, Naval Support Activity South Potomac public affairs, discussed police operations, fire safety and quality of life being the core functions of the command. In regards to fire safety, Hayes said the naval base now has a decentralized steam system that goes throughout the base. She said this was a critical step forward for NSF Indian Head to make its fleet much more environmentally-friendly.
In regards to quality of life, the base has also hosted several concerts this year featuring Daughtry and Magic!, and have accomplished many outreach projects for local military families. The naval base is continuously seeking additional opportunities to bring entertainment on the base.
A Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division engineer prepares to use the command’s 420-gallon mixer in preparation for the manufacturing of energetic materials.
Michael T. Adams, business director of NSWC IHEODTD, and John G. Hungerford IV, Systems Integration Department, Naval Surface Warfare Center, gave a command briefing at the NSWC Headquarters on Nov. 21.