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NEWS | May 25, 2022

NAVSEA Executive Director speaks to honoring cultural diversity during Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport podcast

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

As part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport’s award-winning podcast series, Tangents, hosted Giao Phan, executive director of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). During this special episode, Phan, who came to America as a Vietnamese refugee fleeing communism with her family, chronicled her humble beginnings, heritage, commitment to service, and the importance of mentorship in one’s career.

Phan began her U.S. Navy civil service career in 1984 and has held numerous leadership positions managing development and integration programs. In December 2020, Phan became the first Asian American woman to serve as NAVSEA’s executive director. In this role, Phan provides executive leadership to more than 85,000 military and civilian personnel across the globe who execute the research, development, acquisition, maintenance, modernization, and inactivation of the Navy’s battle force and most major combat and hull, mechanical, and electrical systems.

Phan and her family escaped Vietnam in 1975 with only $300 and a hope for a better life in the United States.  During the podcast, she reflected that the hardship brought her family closer and, to this day, the majority of her family lives within 10 miles of each other and together they honor many Vietnamese traditions.

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, celebrated each May, recognizes the cultural traditions, ancestry, native languages represented by more than 56 ethnic groups and the service and sacrifices of Asian/Pacific Islanders throughout the U.S. This year’s theme is “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration.”

“I will be celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month by continuing to honor my heritage and my family and the work that I’ve done in my position as executive director of the Naval Sea Systems Command,” Phan said.

Tangents is a podcast brought to listeners by the NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs Office and all episodes are available on iTunes and Spotify. Link:

NUWC Division Newport is a shore command of the U.S. Navy within the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, builds and supports America’s fleet of ships and combat systems. NUWC Newport provides research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures associated with undersea warfare.

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.

Join our team! NUWC Division Newport, one of the 20 largest employers in Rhode Island, employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts who wish to be at the forefront of undersea research and development. Please connect with NUWC Division Newport Recruiting at this site- and follow us on LinkedIn @NUWC-Newport and on Facebook @NUWCNewport.