Installation management of the Navy base at Dahlgren transferred to Commander Navy Installation Command (CNIC) in 2003 with the standup of this new Echelon II command, charged with providing shore installation management services to all Navy activities. All naval installations within the National Capital Region aligned with Naval District Washington (NDW), and on Nov. 3, 2005, the Dahlgren base was renamed as Naval Support Facility Dahlgren with the commissioning of Naval Support Activity South Potomac (NSASP) as the installation’s host command.
Current supported commands on board NSF Dahlgren include the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center Detachment Dahlgren, Sea-Based Weapons Systems, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, the Center for Surface Combat Systems, the Aegis Training and Readiness Center, the Joint Warfare Analysis Center, the U.S. Space Force 18th Space Control Squadron Detachment 1.
Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (NSMWDC) Detachment Dahlgren is Navy’s primary authority and lead organization for naval, joint, and coalition integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) matters. NSMWDC Det Dahlgren assesses, integrates and synchronizes Navy IAMD efforts across the doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel and facilities (DOTMLPF) spectrum; interfaces with operational commands, resource sponsors, system commands, research organizations, doctrine developers, training organizations and other centers of excellence; and provides IAMD operational mission support to the Fleet.
NSMWDC Det Dahlgren also plays a key role in supporting Navy's effort to execute the President's Phased Adaptive Approach for Ballistic Missile Defense. This approach deploys proven capabilities to protect NATO partners, allies and the United States.
is both a field activity of the Naval Sea System Command, as well as the Navy element of the Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Missile Defense Program.
Sea-Based Weapon Systems (SBWS) builds upon and extends capabilities inherent in the Aegis Weapon System, Standard Missile (SM) and Navy command and control systems. It accomplishes significant roles in homeland and regional defense. In the latter, Aegis-equipped vessels provide ballistic missile engagement capability against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles both above and inside the atmosphere. Aegis BMD ships have integrated planning, detection, control, engagement and damage assessment functionalities for ballistic missile engagement. For Homeland Defense, Aegis BMD possesses the Long Range Surveillance and Track (LRS&T) capability. Aegis BMD modified ships search, detect and track ballistic missiles of all ranges – including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) - and transmit the track data to the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).
As of December 2020, there are 41 Aegis BMD ships (five cruisers [CGs] and 36 destroyers [DDGs] in the U.S. Navy. Of the 41 ships, 20 are assigned to the Pacific Fleet and 21 to the Atlantic Fleet. In response to the increasing demand for Aegis BMD capability from the Combatant Commanders, the MDA and Navy are working together to increase the number of Aegis BMD capable ships. Such efforts consist of upgrading Aegis DDGs with BMD capability, incorporating Aegis BMD into the Aegis Modernization Program and new construction of Aegis BMD DDGs.
Naval Surface Warface Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) is the largest command at NSF Dahlgren and accounts for fully two-thirds of the base’s workforce. NSWCDD’s roots go back to the founding of the Dahlgren naval base as the Navy’s premier proving ground. Today, NSWC Dahlgren Division, as part of the Naval Sea Systems Command, is a critical component of the largest research and engineering organization for the Department of Defense.
NSWCDD’s sustaining fundamental capabilities, grounded in electromagnetics, engineering, continuum mechanics and computation and analysis, are the basis for continued development of solutions for naval and national needs. The command provides research, development, test and evaluation, analysis, systems engineering, integration and certification of complex naval warfare systems related to surface warfare, strategic systems, combat and weapons systems. NSWCDD also provides system integration and certification for weapons, combat systems and warfare systems.
NSWCDD’s strategic direction is to provide the full spectrum of science and engineering capabilities for surface ship weapons systems integration up to and including the force level, missile defense, strategic systems and related areas of joint and homeland defense. The command’s workforce of scientists and engineers is pushing the envelope of ordnance and weaponry for tomorrow’s Navy, and is equally contributing to the integrated design of the Fleet of the future.
As national attention increasingly focuses on military participation in non-traditional missions, NSWCDD is responding by taking up missions in support of homeland defense, chemical-biological warfare protection, counter-terrorism, and counter-narcoterrorism.
With its broad spectrum of unique resources, including workforce, infrastructure and partnerships with industry and academia, NSWCDD has earned a reputation as a premier naval scientific and engineering institution and is well-positioned for continuing success in solving a diverse set of complex technical problems confronting the warfighter, whether on land, in the air, on the sea or in space.
Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) oversees 14 learning sites and provides 1,000 courses a year to over 50,000 Sailors. CSCS and its 14 learning sites provide maintenance and operations training for surface combat systems.
CSCS also provides international training coordinated through its Security Assistance and International Programs directorate. In addition, CSCS conducts training for nine enlisted ratings: Fire Controlmen, Electronic Technicians, Interior Communications, Sonar Technician (surface), Gunner’s Mates, Mineman, Operations Specialists, Boatswain’s Mates, and Quartermasters. CSCS also trains surface warfare officers in skills required to tactically operate and employ Aegis and Ship Self Defense System (SSDS) equipped ships.
The Center for Surface Combat Systems falls under the Naval Education and Training Command. The goal of NETC is to enable the Fleet to successfully execute the Maritime Strategy by providing quality training and education to our maritime forces. To support the Maritime Strategy and achieve operational excellence, CSCS provides the backbone of the surface force’s warfare capability.
AEGIS Training and Readiness Center (ATRC) is one component of CSCS. ATRC’s core mission is training military personnel in the operation, maintenance, and employment of the Aegis Combat Weapons System and the operation and employment of the Ship’s Self Defense System.
ATRC offers technical training courses specifically designed to prepare individuals for serving in a combat system role. Specifically, Aegis Fire Controlmen and surface warfare officers learn the Aegis Combat/Weapons System equipped on all U.S. Navy destroyers and cruisers. Likewise, Fire Controlmen and officers destined for certain aircraft carriers and large deck amphibious ships receive training on the Ship’s Self Defense System (SSDS).
ATRC’s traditional school house instruction is delivered 24 hours a day, five days a week. Nearly 650 enlisted Fire Controlmen and 550 officers graduate annually. Military instructors are typically Fleet returnees who bring relevant, recent experience to the classroom. Contracted instructors are typically prior Aegis Sailors who provide continuity to our instructional staff. Electronic classrooms, electronic technical manuals, and long-range connectivity allow for continued expansion of the quantity and quality of training to meet growing training requirements. ATRC’s ongoing efforts include examining new technologies and training methods for innovative, less costly ways to train to meet new challenges and needs of the United States Navy.
Joint Warfare Analysis Center (JWAC), a component of U.S. Strategic Command, provides combatant commands, Joint Staff, and other customers with precise technical solutions to carry out the national security and military strategies of the United States. To accomplish its mission, JWAC uses information provided by its partners in the intelligence community to analyze some of the most complex problems faced by military and civilian leaders alike and, by applying rigorous analytical methods, recommends solutions to these problems. It handles both crisis operations and contingency planning. Among its customers are combatant commands, the Joint Staff, and civilian agencies like the Departments of State and Treasury.
18th Space Control Squadron Detachment 1 is a component of the 20th Space Control Squadron headquartered at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The unit’s mission is to sustain space control and command and control capabilities to dominate the high ground. 18th SPCS Det 1 accomplishes this mission by supporting the Distributive Space Command and Control (DSC2) and Air Force Space Surveillance System (AFSSS) operations.
The AFSSS radar system has been used continuously since 1961 to detect overflying space objects and debris. The AFSSS consists of a network of nine transmitter/receiver field stations which combine to form vertical bi-static radar which creates a “fence” of electromagnetic energy. The system is capable of detecting objects as small as a basketball in orbit up to an effective range of 15,000 nautical miles, and nearly six million satellite detections, or observations, are collected by the AFSSS each month. AFSSS data is transmitted continuously to 18th SPCS Det 1 at Dahlgren, Va., and the unit processes the observations and updates the satellite catalog using an array of computer systems and applications.
DSC2-Dahlgren is the alternate command and control node for the Joint Space Operations Center-Space Situational Awareness Operations Cell (JSpOC-SSAOC) at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. DSC2-Dahlgren tasks the Space Surveillance Network, a worldwide system of 29 sensors (both radar and optical), to detect, track and observe orbital objects larger than 10 centimeters. The collected data is transmitted to 18th SPCS Det 1 computer systems where it is processed, cataloged and analyzed. The observations are used to update the Space Catalog which is a comprehensive listing of the number, type, and orbit of more than 16,000 man-made objects in space. 18th SPCS Det 1 also provides a backup computational and command and control capability for the JSpOC.