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Capt. David N. Back, USN

Commanding Officer, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division

Captain David N. Back assumed command of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division on May 8, 2020 and today leads more than 1,600 civilians, 425 contractors, and 20 military, and an overall business base of more than $500 million. The Division’s support areas encompass all navy missions that occur in the littorals, including mine warfare, diving and life support, naval special warfare, and expeditionary maneuver systems.

Captain Back is from Livermore, California. He joined the Navy through the NROTC Program at Stanford University, receiving his commission in 1995 and starting the training pipeline to be a Surface Warfare Officer.

He served as Electrical and Auxiliaries Officer onboard USS GEORGE PHILIP (FFG 12) for his first Division Officer tour, seeing the ship through the CARAT 96 deployment and a JIATF-West Counter-Narcotics Deployment in 1998. From there he transferred to USS CONSTELLATION (CV 64), serving as the Communications Maintenance (CS-8) Division Officer and the CMS Custodian during an interdeployment training cycle and her WESTPAC 99 / OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH deployment. As a Department Head, he was the Pre-commissioning Combat Systems Officer on USS PINCKNEY (DDG 91), the test ship for the AN/SPY-1(D)V, from March 2002 to January 2005, and the Operations Officer on the Yokosuka-based USS COWPENS (CG 63) from February 2005 to July 2006, serving through several multi-national exercises including TALISMAN SABER 05. In March 2011, he reported aboard USS INDEPENDENCE (LCS 2) “Gold Crew” as Executive Officer, fleeting up to Commanding Officer in September of 2012, and seeing her through numerous Post-Delivery Test and Trials events and her sail-around from Mayport to San Diego.

Ashore, Captain Back attended the Naval Postgraduate School from January 2000 to March 2002. He also served as a Department Head Instructor for Air Defense, Operations, and Naval Tactical Planning Instructor at the Surface Warfare Officers School from July 2006 through October 2009, during which time he also spent one year on an IA tour in Balad, Iraq as a Brigade Electronic Warfare Officer with the 213th Area Support Group (Army National Guard). Between April 2014 and June 2017, he served on the OPNAV staff as the Surface Warfare Division Littoral Combat Ships Operations and Sustainment Branch Head (N96E2).

In April 2017, Captain Back screened as a Surface Warfare Officer Acquisition Corps Recruit.  In June 2017, he transitioned to his first Acquisition tour in Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems, as the Principle Assistant Program Manager for Aegis Fleet Support (PEO IWS 1FR). He screened for Acquisition Major Program Manager
in November 2017, and in June 2018 started the processes of standing up a new Program Office (in Program Executive Office, Ships) for surface ship bridge commonality and integration, following recommendations in the US Fleet Forces Comprehensive Review of the 2016 USS FITZGERALD, MCCAIN, ANTIETAM, and CHANCELLORSVILLE incidents.

Captain Back holds a Bachelor of the Arts Degree in English from Stanford University and a Master of Science Degree in Modeling, Virtual Environments and Simulations (MOVES) from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Captain Back’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (4 awards) and the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4 awards).