Navy realigns war research centers

Naval Sea Systems Command officials announced they would restructure the command's eight warfare centers to reduce redundancy in the development of some cutting-edge ship technology.

The Navy established the warfare centers in 1992 to perform research, development, tests and evaluations for the future navy and to provide in-service engineering and logistics support for the operating fleet. The Naval Surface Warfare Center operates six divisions in Indian Head, Md.; Carderock, Md.; Dahlgren, Va.; Crane, Ind.; Port Hueneme, Calif.; and Corona, Calif. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center oversees two divisions, in Newport, R.I., and Keyport, Wash.

Although the eight centers have successfully worked together to improve their efficiency and effectiveness, each has operated primarily as a discreet business unit, said David Caskey, a spokesman for the surface warfare centers, which announced the restructuring last week. As a result, work was sometimes duplicated by more than one location.

"The crux of the alignment is that the work done at the centers will now be product-centered, rather than site-centered," Caskey said. "The warfare centers all have different levels of expertise, and now work will be divvied out by product."

The centers will now be aligned along 12 product areas:

* Undersea warfare analysis and assessment

* Undersea warfare fleet material readiness

* Undersea warfare command and control systems

* Undersea warfare weapons and vehicles

* Force level warfare systems

* Ships and ships systems

* Surface ship combat systems

* Littoral warfare systems

* Navy strategic weapons systems

* Ordinance

* Homeland and force protection

* Surface warfare logistics and maintenance

Caskey said overlap caused the centers to be less effective than they could be. As a result, Vice Adm. Phillip Balisle, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command, said the centers would realign to find ways to become more efficient and effective.

The goal is to have the centers realigned and running under the new system by Oct. 1.

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