Naval Sea Systems Command


Mine Defense Laboratory, 1949

The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) had its origin in the mine countermeasures research conducted during World War II at the U.S. Naval Mine Warfare Test Station, Solomons, Maryland. In 1945, equipment, facilities, and personnel were transferred from Solomons to Panama City, Florida, to occupy a 373-acre tract, in caretaker status. This same tract was used as a Naval Section Base in 1942, the U.S. Naval Amphibious Training Base in 1944, and was inactivated in June 1945. It was established as the U.S. Navy Mine Countermeasures Station July 20, 1945.

By 1955, the Countermeasures Station had achieved laboratory status and was renamed to the U.S. Navy Mine Defense Laboratory in April 1955. Its mission had been expanded to include torpedo countermeasures, helicopter mine countermeasures, mine hunting and mine watching study projects, and other advanced countermeasures.

The Laboratory became an activity of the Naval Ship Research and Development Center, Carderock, Maryland, November 1, 1967, and was renamed the Naval Ship Research and Development Laboratory, Panama City, November 1968. A naval internal reorganization effort to combine several of the closely related R&D laboratories resulted in the Panama City and Annapolis laboratories being combined with the David Taylor Naval Ship Research and Development Center at Carderock.
In February 1972, it was renamed the Naval Coastal Systems Laboratory. Its mission had expanded into special warfare areas such as inshore undersea warfare and amphibious operations. In its separate command status, the laboratory reported directly to the Chief of Naval Material.
In March 1978, the name changed to Naval Coastal Systems Center (NCSC) to more accurately reflect the broad range of products and services provided and to bring its name into consonance with the other (then) seven research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) centers commanded by the Chief of Naval Material. Upon disestablishment of the Naval Material Command in 1985, NCSC reported to the Office of the Chief of Naval Research. From 1986 through 1991, NCSC reported to the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. In October 1991, it was realigned under the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). 
In January 1992, NCSC was re-designated the Coastal Systems Station, Dahlgren Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, reporting to NAVSEA. Its mission is to (1) support the mission of the Dahlgren Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center by providing research, development, test and evaluation, and in-service engineering for mine warfare, special warfare, amphibious warfare, diving and other naval missions that take place primarily in the coastal region, and (2) execute other responsibilities as assigned by the Commander, Dahlgren Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center. By October 2007, the Naval Coastal Systems Center Panama City was brought out from under the Dahlgren Division and stood up as its own Division.

Today, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division is one of the major research, development, test and evaluation laboratories of the U.S. Navy and boasts a wide base of expertise in engineering and scientific disciplines. It is one of Bay County's finest resources and employs approximately 2,000 federal civil service, contractor, and military personnel with an annual payroll of about $117 million. NSWC Panama City Division contracts services, buys local goods, and maintains an active construction program. Its economic impact on Bay County is approximately $336 million annually. 

Throughout its existence, the mission, size, and responsibilities have expanded steadily to meet the increasing requirements of the U.S. Navy--to defend today and to plan for tomorrow.

Today, NSWC PCD is the Technical Center of Excellence for Littoral Warfare and Coastal Defense.

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