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NEWS | July 26, 2021

NSWC Dahlgren Division Investing in Facility Upgrades to Better Support the Warfighter

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

Facilities and infrastructure continue to be an essential thrust for Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD). Over the last five years, the warfare center invested about $14 million per year in facility sustainment, restoration and modernization (SRM) projects to update existing buildings on base.

In addition to SRM, NSWCDD has been utilizing about 65% of its annual Capital Investment Program (CIP) budget to invest in constructing new facilities to support its workforce and mission.

With substantial investment in the renovation of facilities on the nearly 103-year-old base, Business Director Chris Clifford says command aims to address the need to provide modern, fully functional facilities to the workforce.

“We’re fixing older buildings, we’re creating new facilities and using all available vehicles to improve our facility posture,” said Clifford. “We can’t update all facilities in the short-term; however, we are on track with a long-term plan to support the renovation of all facilities that need it.”

The Infrastructure Governance Board – co-chaired by Strategic and Computing Systems Department Head Shellie Clift and Infrastructure Division Head Steve Eckel – determines which buildings require most attention on three criteria: impacts of facility conditions on the employees, impacts of the conditions on the mission and the overall assessed condition of the building.

The impact of the conditions on the people working in the facility is the most crucial tenet in determining priority of full-building renovation. Along with this comes an often-overlooked challenge – where do employees go during the renovation?

According to Infrastructure Division Head Steve Eckel renovations can displace personnel for a minimum of six to eight months. Eckel and his team have to ensure there is another facility to temporarily house employees before beginning any substantial renovations. This displacement, along with the budget, defines the ability to complete numerous projects and renovations in a short amount of time.

Despite this challenge, NSWCDD’s renovation effort has successfully accomplished a three-part, three-year update to buildings 218 and 111 as well as renovations to buildings 198 and 199. Updates to some of the pre-World War II structures were sweeping and included replacing all of the HVAC, reconfiguring space to increase functionality and modernizing office spaces. NSWCDD will to kick off its next multi-year modernization project, Building 1500, in fiscal 2022.

Separate from the renovation of existing facilities is NSWCDD’s Minor Construction (MINCON) effort. The funds that NSWCDD allocates for MINCON are investments in creating brand-new space that supports new capabilities, new missions and replaces space for those that have become obsolete.

Recent MINCON accomplishments include the Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare Facility, the Cyber Warfare Engineering Lab and two facilities to support electromagnetic environment effects capability. These four new facilities, visible between Hangars One and Two, total more than 36,000 square feet. Additionally, there are two other projects underway – totaling 9,000 square feet – to be completed in 2022.  Future MINCON projects are already planned through 2023 and will result in a high power anechoic test chamber, significant power upgrades to a substation and a new collaboration and integration lab.

Clifford emphasized that NSWCDD is making a conscious effort to invest in modernized facilities for its workforce. He summarized the sentiment saying “the primary goal for investing such a large piece of our budget on facilities is to provide our workforce modern facilities, increase morale and support providing capability to the warfighter.”