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NEWS | May 7, 2020

NSWC Panama City commanding officer bids final farewell

By CAPT Aaron S. Peters, NSWC PCD Commanding Officer


It is with a heavy but proud heart that I pen my final View from the Bridge. So much has changed since I took command just 33 months ago. Although Hurricane Michael and the current COVID crisis are notable in the history of the command it is your dedication and commitment to the mission that I will always remember. I came here because of the people and the mission. The professionalism, resiliency, and dedication of the entire workforce amaze me.

Looking back there were many great successes and I thought I would highlight a few:

The command implemented the FY19-FY23 Strategic Campaign Plan; an institutionalized well-aligned top-level strategy, ensuring continued success in all major product lines supporting today and tomorrow’s warfighters.

The NSWC PCD Military personnel did an exceptional job supporting the programs and carrying out a “can do” attitude. Plus, having the NAVSEA Sailor of Year and Finalist for the Navy’s Ashore Command Sailor of the Year was an additional bonus.

A Department’s Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) and the Surface Mine Counter-measures Unmanned Underwater Vehicle, Knifefish, successfully underwent Developmental Testing (DT), Operational Assessment (OA), and ultimately achieved Milestone C.

E Department gained a provisional qualification to perform Deep Submergence Systems Certification for the Shallow Water Combat Submersible (SWCS) from NAVSEA, saving a multi-million dollar product line in support of national tasking.

X Department developed and transitioned automatic target recognition (ATR) algorithms and display capabilities for the Small Synthetic Aperture Mine-hunter (SSAM) sensor.

NSWC PCD Comptroller, in addition to the normal financials that go into running a warfare center division, met or exceeded our financial targets for over $500M annually and made sure our employees were paid in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

Our Contracting Department awarded $100M Multiple Party Team Other Transaction Agreement to five awardees, which will greatly increase the speed at which NSWC PCD can get the mission done.

All of these accomplishments were made possible by the day-to-day support provided from our Code 10 team – Human Resources, Infrastructure, Public Affairs, Information Technology (IT), Security, Corporate Business, Equal, and Property Management. They work hard every day to ensure that NSWC PCD keeps moving forward.

I would also like to recognize the great work in the following areas: Lean-In Circles, Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Outreach, New Professional Rotation Program, PCD Leadership Academy, The People’s Integrated Essential Resource (PIER), Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) Project, Technical Career Planning, and Director’s Cup.

These are just a couple of examples of the great work the NSWC PCD Team has been doing to support the greatest Navy in the world. While I am disappointed that COVID-19 has prevented us from gathering formally to observe the military tradition of the Change of Command, I would like to end my 31 year career by offering you a couple of observations I have learned along the way.
• Life is Not Easy or Fair, to quote the Rolling Stones “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well, you might find you get what you need”
• Never Give Up • Don’t Inspire to Make a Living, Inspire to Make a Difference
• Do the Right Thing All the Time
• Take Care of Your People • Build and Strengthen Relationships
• Find Your Purpose
• Work as a Team
• Communicate Often
• Have Fun

Lastly, continue to carry out my Four Priorities:
• Warfighter
• People
• Safety
• Communication

I know that CAPT David Back will lead well and will continue to make NSWC PCD a worldclass organization. I wish the entire NSWC PCD family the very best.