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NEWS | March 5, 2021

Chief of Naval Operations visits NSWC Panama City Division

By Cierra Burch and Katherine Mapp NSWC PCD Public Affairs

Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith visited Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) March 4, to learn more about progress on unmanned, artificial intelligence and machine learning technology.

“Our Sailors – uniform and civilian - are the strength of our Navy and from what I’ve seen first-hand during this visit, our team is strong,” said Gilday. “The innovation, dedication and perseverance of our Sailors and their families impresses me every day. I could not be more proud of the work our Sailors are doing here and am truly impressed by their personal response to remain mission ready.”

Gilday and Smith spent the afternoon taking briefs and engaging with Sailors.

“NSWC PCD is rapidly delivering solutions to meet emerging fleet needs,” said Capt. David Back, NSWC PCD commanding officer. “Hosting the CNO and MCPON to demonstrate NSWC PCD’s capabilities is an honor.”

NSWC PCD continues to expand the advantage and ensure warfighting dominance in the littoral battlespace through projects such the regional super connector network Gulf Coast Tech Bridge, which accelerates solutions to the Navy’s coastal science and unmanned systems challenges through partnerships and innovation, and unmanned systems.

Dr. Peter Adair, NSWC PCD technical director and leader in mine warfare for the U.S. Navy, emphasized the significance of NSWC PCD’s unmanned capabilities.

“Taking Sailors and Marines out of harm’s way and reducing the operational timeline is imperative. Unmanned technologies are how we are going to get there,” said Adair.

“We have developed unmanned systems and technologies both locally and in conjunction with our partners. Being able to demonstrate them to the CNO and MCPON, the leaders of the fleet, is invaluable.”

The visit provided Gilday and Smith with a clearer understanding of NSWC PCD’s efforts to support the warfighter.

“As we adapt to an increasingly complex security environment, it is imperative that the Navy develop a warfighting network of networks to support a future fleet of manned and unmanned vessels,” said Gilday. “Information has become the cornerstone of how we operate, and we need to be able to decide and act faster than anyone else.”