By Rear Adm. David M. Duryea
For over 140 years, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) and its predecessor organizations have been charged with meeting the undersea warfare (USW) requirements of the U.S. Navy. Over these many years, we have established a reputation for technical excellence and for our commitment to our fundamental role of serving the fleet.
NUWC is an Echelon III shore command and part of the Naval Sea Systems Command. Headquartered at Newport, R.I., NUWC has divisions at Newport, R.I. and Keyport, Wash. and an Echelon V command, the Naval Sea Systems Logistics Center, at Mechanicsburg, Pa. Our detachments and remote sites are geographically spread across North America and the Pacific Basin with locations including Andros Island, Bahamas; Lualualei, Hawaii; Hawthorne, Nev.; Kings Bay, Ga.; Bangor, Wash.; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; San Diego, Calif.; and Nanoose, British Columbia. The command employs approximately 4,600 personnel worldwide, with more than 50 percent of civilians being scientists and engineers, and draws on the support of about 2,000 on-site contractor partners.
As the Navy’s principal research, development, test and evaluation assessment activity for submarine and undersea systems and subsystems, NUWC’s most important responsibility is to steward the Navy’s technical capabilities in our USW mission area. Our work spans the entire lifecycle of a system that may remain in service for 40 to 50 years. As the Navy’s trusted technical agents, we exercise technical authority through various roles including In-Service Engineering Agents and Technical Design Agents for Navy acquisition programs; Technical Warrant Holders in technical leadership areas; and USW technology scientists, analysts, consultants, and advisers to our warfighters and other organizations.
We work with numerous customers including the Naval Sea Systems Command and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command-affiliated Program Executive Offices, the fleet, and the Office of Naval Research to help ensure that Navy and other programs are successful. In addition, we provide the fleet with unbiased technical advice to meet national security challenges of today and tomorrow. NUWC partners with other government agencies, industry, and academia to develop traditional and novel non-traditional scientific and technical solutions that create new value for the current Navy, the next Navy, and the Navy after next.
Mission: To operate the Navy’s full-spectrum research, development, test and evaluation; engineering; and fleet support center for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, and offensive and defensive weapon systems associated with USW and related areas of homeland security and national defense. NUWC also provides the Navy’s core technical capability for the integration of weapons, combat, and ship systems into submarines and undersea vehicles.
We also deliver an array of responsive options and services for fleet needs and are ready at a moment’s notice, 24/7/365, to help get the right people and the right technical services to the fleet. NUWC provides innovative rapid-response solutions to the deployed and operational fleet, helping to maintain readiness so that our warfighters can wholly focus on their mission. The fleet is our number one priority, and we pride ourselves on our ability to diagnose technical problems and get fleet systems back up and operating quickly.
It is the fleet that is driving requirements, and NUWC helps meet those requirements by working in the laboratory environment to explore and develop ideas for the future Navy. We also help by brokering technical solutions that are under development elsewhere and help translate them into innovative approaches for Navy applications. It isn’t always about new capabilities. We are equally invested in finding ways to make ships and systems more affordable for the Navy while providing in-service engineering, acquisition lifecycle support, fleet support, maintenance, and always working with our sponsors to find ways to reduce total ownership costs and the cost to deliver our technical support more inexpensively.
While the majority of the Navy is “mission-funded,” with congressionally appropriated budgets executed over the course of a fiscal year, NUWC operates as a Navy Working Capital activity. Under the unique principles of the Navy Working Capital Fund, we are held accountable for the efficient delivery of products and services. Our work is contractual in nature; funds must be received before the work is performed (by law), tasking is screened through a work acceptance process, and cost estimates are based on stabilized rates structured for full cost recovery. Successful operation under these guidelines demands that NUWC be innovative and effective in all of its operations.
As NUWC moves forward, we will continue to strive to bring together fleet needs with emerging technology and engineering expertise and offer sound technical solutions to today’s and tomorrow’s Navy in support of our nation’s continued USW dominance.
Rear Adm. Duryea is Commander, Naval Undersea Warfare Center.