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NEWS | May 3, 2019

NSWC Philadelphia Division’s Change of Command Ceremony Highlights Outgoing Commander, Welcomes New Commander

By Keegan Rammel, NSWCPD Public Affairs NSWCPD

PHILADELPHIA – Capt. Dana Simon relieved Capt. Francis Spencer as commanding officer, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD), during a change of command ceremony on May 2.

“I’d like to say how honored I am to have the opportunity to officiate this ceremony for two tremendous Naval officers, Francis Spencer and Dana Simon as they turn over the watch today,” said Vice Adm. Thomas J. Moore, Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command. "Luckily for us we have a great officer coming in behind Francis in Captain Dana Simon.”

Spencer was relieved after three years of serving as NSWCPD’s commanding officer. Spencer assumed command of NSWCPD in April 2016, six months after the command stood up as its own Warfare Center division. 

“Francis has had an amazing and varied career … when one of the crown jewels of the warfare center jobs [as commanding officer of NSWCPD] opened up, I tell ya, there was no better person to do that than Francis,” Moore said. “There’s no doubt that today, NSWC Philadelphia is the leader in everything hull, mechanical, and electrical related, you are a true face-the fleet engineering organization and there is no other warfare center that wears the moniker ‘The Force of the Fleet’ more than NSWC Philly.”

During his remarks, Spencer highlighted NSWCPD’s accomplishments during his three years as Commanding Officer, from the implementation of a new hire boot camp that has been recognized as a NAVSEA best practice to continuing to support the fleet.

“We have grown from 1,750 to 2,600 Department of the Navy employees in response for customer demand. We are on track to support the Arleigh Burke-class, Flight III Land Based Engineering Site upgrade and de-risking of the baseline of that important destroyer program. We are supporting the Ford-class Advanced Weapons Elevator shipboard certification and stand up of Advanced Weapons Elevator’s Land Based Engineering and Test Site. We are the center for excellence for afloat cybersecurity and for warship machinery control and ship control. I will always be your devoted cheerleader pulling for you to deliver the best internal ship systems through the life-cycles of every ship and submarine in the fleet,” Spencer said.

Spencer’s official retirement will take place at the U.S. Naval Academy on May 31 at the completion of his 30 years of service.

Simon reports to NSWCPD with a wealth of knowledge gained from careers in the Army, Navy, and private industry, serving most recently as commanding officer for Defense Contract Management Agency – Naval Special Emphasis Operations. 

After being introduced to the workforce for the first time as commanding officer, Simon issued his commander’s intent: “focus on the fleet, support the Sailor.”

“We must always remain focused on the fleet, continually adapting to evolving missions executed around the globe. We must always support the Sailors by providing systems with unmatched functionality and reliability as our ships that are operating in contested waters are dependent upon what NSWC Philadelphia does. We enable the Navy to accomplish its mission safely and we bring Sailors home safely,” Simon said. “I look forward to serving alongside each of you as we continue to build upon the outstanding legacy of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division.”

A 1984 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, Simon was first commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Aviation Branch. After serving his tour of duty, Simon left the Army in 1989 to pursue graduate education. After earning his master’s degree in mechanical engineering and working in private industry, Simon received a direct commission into the Navy Reserve as an engineering duty officer in 1999. He served as administrative officer for NSWC Port Hueneme Division Detachment 210 in Houston, Tex. and as executive officer for Naval Surface Group Mid-Pacific Detachment 610. 

Simon was recalled to active duty in 2004 and was assigned to Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard to serve as the deputy project superintendent on multiple depot level submarine availabilities and as shipyard docking officer. Simon served as the maintenance readiness and improvements officer for Submarine Forces Atlantic (SUBLANT). During his tenure at SUBLANT, Simon deployed to Iraq as an Individual Augmentee in 2009, serving as a technical officer. In 2011, he reported to USS Frank Cable (AS 40) in Agana, Guam, where he served as the repair officer. Immediately prior to his position at DCMA, Simon was the production resources officer and completed his tour at Norfolk Naval Shipyard as business and strategic planning officer. 

NSWCPD employs approximately 2,600 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel doing research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for Navy ships. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.