NORCO, Calif. –
With recent technological developments, millions in revenue and contracted business, employee growth and high-profile visitors, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division continues to significantly impact the local economy.
Capt. Richard A. Braunbeck III, commanding officer of NSWC Corona, presented that message during the State of the Command address August 15, showcasing the positive impact of naval operations to community and national leaders.
“As America faces ever more complex technological threats to its security, our Navy is expanding capability to meet current and emerging threats,” said Braunbeck. “NSWC Corona’s skill set, employees and contractual partners have all grown at over 10 percent per year to support the Navy’s warfighting platforms, and the demand for our services continues to increase. Because of this, NSWC Corona continues to partner with the community to positively impact the local economy.”
Guests included Congressman Ken Calvert, 42nd District; Karen Spiegel, Riverside County Second District Supervisor; Maj. Luke A Rederus, U.S. Air Force, Congressional Budget and Appropriations Liaison; representatives for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Kamala Harris, and Sen. Richard Roth; Yolanda Carrillo, Corona City Councilwoman; and Kevin Bash, Norco City Councilman. The group received a welcome by Capt. Braunbeck and an overview of the command’s achievements, economic impact, and employee growth. The visitors also toured the Measurement Science Technology Lab and its high-energy laser facility.
“Obviously, this base is a real asset to the country and does fantastic work here in a number of areas: how we defend our ships, how we develop our capability, how we have the weight and measurement facility here,” said Congressman Ken Calvert. “So this is a real jewel and we’re proud to have it here in the Norco-Corona area.”
The base is a strategic regional asset for the Navy and the local economy, with more than $500 million in revenue and a $330 million economic impact (FY 15). The impact is driven, in part, by local contracted business, employee hiring including students from local partner universities, and visitor and employee spending in the region.
Local businesses help the warfare center meet annual contracting requirements. Of the $240 million in projected contracts in fiscal year 2019, 32.9% have been awarded to small business, totaling $56 million year-to-date. (According to federal acquisition regulations, all acquisitions up to $250,000 are set aside for small businesses, unless the rules provide an exception.) The warfare center anticipates growth of $1.5 billion in contracting needs in the next five years, further benefitting local businesses, the economy and employee hiring.
In response to customer demand, the command has experienced a 77% increase in tasking from military agencies from 2013 to 2019. This resulted in $362 million in reimbursable tasking for the base. That demand also drove a 75% increase in civilian employees during the same period, from 975 to nearly 1,700. NSWC Corona is one of the largest technical employers in Riverside County, featuring high-tech, high-wage jobs with nearly 83% scientists, engineers and technicians. Of the total workforce, 28% are veterans. The highly educated and diverse workforce earns an average $103,000 salary.
As a result of workforce growth, the command has tripled its investment in employee training and education, which includes its Academic Degree Program. NSWC Corona has enabled 38 employees (2% of the workforce) to pursue their bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees to further the command’s technical capabilities. Of those, 22 have graduated with degrees in business, cyber security, data analytics and engineering from University of California, Riverside (UCR); California State University, Fullerton; Naval Postgraduate School and others.
As an active community partner with local universities, the command hired 197 graduates between October 2016 and July 2019, including 72 from UCR, 61 from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and 48 from California Baptist University. The command also fosters future employees through internships, scholarships, apprenticeships and other government-funded programs.
Within the last year, the command hosted a record number of VIPs, including the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson. Visitors often fill local hotels during the week, contributing to local eateries and shopping centers. With the Navy’s steady stream of visitors, and local sporting and equestrian events, a new hotel in Norco is opening in September to accommodate demand and boost tax dollars for the city.
Norco City Councilman Kevin Bash stated, “I’ve been coming here for 20 years, so I appreciate the beautiful historic renovation of the old library. Brilliant adaptive reuse – it’s beautiful. And the technology going forward is absolutely amazing…It’s just amazing. I’m so proud of it.”
“I am in awe about what happens here,” said Corona City Councilwoman Yolanda Carrillo. “Watching the news, you see ships bumping up against ours and it gives us comfort to know this base is on it and they’re already deciding how they’re going to handle it before we even know. We have such a readiness center here at this base. I give congratulations to everybody involved and I think we have one of the most important bases in the world right here in Corona.”
NSWC Corona is a strategic regional asset for the Navy, with a unique mission and capabilities to assist the warfighter in conquering the daily threats that exist at home and abroad. Through its independent performance assessment, measurement science and calibration, and range systems engineering and management, NSWC Corona’s work applies to combat systems on Navy ships and all branches of the military, including the Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard. The command supports missiles, guns, electro-magnetic pulse systems and more through testing, calibration and engineering to ensure warfighters can safely and accurately hit their targets and dominate any threat.
About Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona
Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona, headquartered in Norco, California, is the Navy's premier independent analysis and assessment agent, enabling warfighters to train, fight and win. The center analyzes warfare and missile defense systems, provides systems engineering for Live Virtual Constructive training ranges, and advises and administratively manages measurement and calibration standards for the Navy and Marine Corps. Capt. Richard A. Braunbeck III commands the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) field activity with a workforce of more than 3,500 scientists, engineers, contractors and support staff.