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NSWC Philadelphia Division Commanding Officer Captain Francis E. Spencer III, USN

A native of Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Capt. Francis Spencer received his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy in May 1989, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in English. He completed the nuclear training pipeline and served aboard USS Ulysses S. Grant (SSBN 631) and USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN 657) from 1991-1993.


After qualifying as Engineer Officer in Naval Nuclear Propulsion Plants in 1993, he served until 1995 as the Lead Instructor of Torpedo Tactics, U.S. Naval Submarine School, Groton, Connecticut. He was selected for lateral transfer to the Engineering Duty community in October 1994.


Capt. Spencer spent the period from September 1995 - December 1997 earning a Master of Science in Physics in the Combat Systems Program at U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.


From March 1998 - May 2002, Capt. Spencer led the combat systems testing effort for the PCU Virginia (SSN 774), while acting as Submarine Electronic Systems (PMS401) Program Manager's Representative (PMR) at Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion, and Repair (SUPSHIP), Groton.


From June-October 2002, he served as Assistant Program Manager for Virginia Class Sonar and Combat Control in the Submarine Combat Systems Program Office (PMS425) at the Program Executive Office for Submarines (PEO SUB) in Washington, D.C. He became the Deputy Assistant Program Manager for the SSGN Attack Weapon System (AWS) in the SSGN Program Office (PMS398) at PEO SUB in October 2002.


From March 2005 - January 2007, Capt. Spencer was the Assistant Engineering Duty Officer Detailer (PERS-445B) at the Navy Personnel Command, Millington, Tennessee, and from March 2007 - October 2008 he served as Combat Systems Officer (CSO) aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).


Capt. Spencer returned to Millington from October 2008 - August 2009 as the Engineering Duty Officer Head Detailer (PERS-445) at Navy Personnel Command.


He served as Ship Integration Branch Head (SP26) for the Ohio Replacement & UK Successor SSBN programs from September 2009 - June 2011. He reported as Deputy Director PMR-51 in June 2011, and served as Director (Major Program Manager) PMR-51 from August 2012 - April 2015.


From May 2015 – March 2016, Capt. Spencer served as the Division Commander, Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division, Keyport, Washington.  In April 2016, Capt. Spencer assumed command of Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Division, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 


Capt. Spencer is a member of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI), and the Department of Defense Acquisition Corps (AC).


His personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (5 awards), and various other personal and unit commendations. He also holds a Master of Science in Metallurgy from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Master of Business Administration from Webster University and is certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.


Michael Kistler, Technical Director, Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia

In February 2016, Mr. Michael Kistler became the first Technical Director for the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD).  In October 2015, NAVSEA established NSWCPD by elevating it from an echelon V organization, subordinate to another warfare center, to an echelon IV warfare center.  He is responsible for continuing the stand-up of the new warfare center and leading the organization as it transitions to its new mission.


Prior to his current assignment, he served as the Executive Director, Naval Systems Engineering Directorate, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), and Deputy to the NAVSEA SYSCOM Chief Engineer (CHENG) from October 2009 to February 2016.  As CHENG Deputy and the senior civilian engineer in NAVSEA, he exercised technical authority for research and systems engineering policy and procedures for surface ships, submarines and aircraft carriers and their subsystems.  Mr. Kistler also served as the NAVSEA’s Research and Systems Engineering Competency Domain Leader responsible for maintaining and developing a national workforce of over 20,000 scientists and engineers through the execution of standards, processes, policies, workload forecasting, and career management.


In 1987, Mr. Kistler started his career in the NAVSEA Engineering Directorate.  Early on, he held a series of progressively challenging marine machinery design positions for submarines and ships.  After completing the Defense Systems Management College Program Manager’s Course in 1994, he returned to the NAVSEA Engineering Directorate to lead a team of engineers through the development and delivery of a new steam propulsion and electric power generator system for the Virginia Class Submarine.  During this time, he became the Technical Warrant Holder for all Secondary Plant Nuclear Propulsion and Electrical Power Generation systems in the Navy.


In July 2005, he served as Senior Ship Design Manager (SSDM) for the USS Gerald Ford (CVN 78) Aircraft Carrier Program.  In this role, he was responsible for the design and construction of a new class of aircraft carriers.  In September 2006, Mr. Kistler was selected for the Senior Executive Service and appointed as the Director for the Ship Integrity and Performance Engineering Group within the Naval Systems Engineering Directorate of NAVSEA responsible for Ship Survivability.  In late 2007, Mr. Kistler assumed additional roles and responsibilities assisting with the development and transition of a new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) for CVN 78.


Mr. Kistler graduated from the University of Maryland in 1986 with a bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering. He received an Award of Merit for Group Achievement from Program Executive Officer, Aircraft Carriers, for leading the CVN 78 design team to a construction preparation contract award.  Mr. Kistler also received an Award of Merit for Group Achievement from Commander, NAVSEA (COMNAVSEA) for leading the certification of CVN 78 ship specifications.  Additionally, he received both the Department of Navy Superior and Meritorious Civilian Service Awards for his outstanding contributions in the fields of main propulsion and electric power generator machinery.