History and General Information
The precursor to the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division was established by Capt. David Watson Taylor at the Washington Navy Yard in 1898. Prior to World War II, staff and activities at the Navy Yard relocated to Carderock, Maryland, where they continue to develop cutting edge maritime technology that supports the U.S. Navy and maritime communities.
Located in West Bethesda, NSWC Carderock Division's Headquarters hosts world-class laboratories, modeling, and simulation facilities that are vital to the success of the Navy and maritime industry. Activities at NSWC Carderock Division include research, engineering, modeling, and testing for the Navy's ships and their operating systems. NSWC Carderock Division's engineers, scientists, and support personnel are the Navy's experts in maritime technology and specialize in more than 40 disciplines ranging from fundamental science to applied/in-service engineering.
The Navy depends on the work of NSWC Carderock Division to help reduce the Navy's operating costs as well as develop advanced platforms and systems that enhance the safety and effectiveness of the military fleet, from conceptual beginnings to implementation and maintenance. This includes work on ships, submarines, military water craft, and unmanned vehicles. NSWC Carderock Division is one of eight different Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Surface Warfare Centers, which are the Navy's principal research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) assessment activity for surface ship and submarine systems.1
As part of its unique mission, NSWC Carderock Division partners with private industry, academic institutions, and state, local, and foreign governments through
Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) and
Work For Private Party Agreements.2 Additionally, NSWC Carderock Division supports and hosts outreach programs with the goal of building a strong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) workforce, as well as Tech Bridges within the industry. The STEM programs include educational programs for students as young as early elementary school and workforce programs such as internships, mentorships, and other professional development opportunities.
NSWC Carderock Division video tour to learn more about the Division and its various technologies.
Carderock Division Locations - NSWC Carderock's geographically dispersed locations provide the specific
environments (i.e., extreme cold, extreme heat/humidity) for hosting the matching research and development facilities
listed above to be able to simulate realistic conditions that Navy vessels could face to test new design ideas, technologies,
weapons systems, and investigate other opportunities for improving the overall livability and survivability of future
Carderock Major Facilities - These facilities, located across the country within the Divisions listed
above, provide the laboratory space and features for NSWC Carderock to conduct its research and development to continuously
improve the Navy's ship designs and fielding of technologies and weapons systems.
- David Taylor Model Basin — West Bethesda, MD
- Maneuvering and Seakeeping Facility (MASK) — West Bethesda, MD
- Deep Submergence Pressure Tank — West Bethesda, MD
- Anechoic Flow Facility — West Bethesda, MD
- Structure Evaluation Laboratory — West Bethesda, MD
- Explosives Test Pond — West Bethesda, MD
- Ship Materials Technology Center — West Bethesda, MD
- Magnetic Fields Laboratory — West Bethesda, MD
- Acoustic Research Detachment — Bayview, ID
- Acoustic Trials Detachment — Titusville, FL
- Large Cavitation Channel — Memphis, TN
- Southeast Alaska Acoustic Measurement Facility (SEAFAC) — Ketchikan, AK
- South Florida Ocean Measurement Facility (SFOMF) — Dania Beach, FL
Compatible Use Organizations, Programs, and Resources
For more information on how NSWC Carderock Division works with the surrounding communities to build a strong and mutually beneficial relationship, you can explore compatible use organizations, programs, and resources.
Community Resources to Promote Compatibility
Military installations and their host communities have strong and mutually beneficial relationships. They rely on and support one another in terms of jobs, housing, schools, recreation, infrastructure, and social services. Communication, coordination, and partnerships that support compatible community development can create mutually beneficial results to ensure support for warfighters and their families, military operations, and continued community growth and economic development.
Counties and municipalities develop comprehensive plans to provide a
long-term vision for their future growth and development. Comprehensive
plans typically include maps showing proposed future land uses and anticipated
transportation and community facilities, and emphasize sustainability, as
well as protection of environmental features, and historical and cultural
The following are links to Montgomery County master plans for areas surrounding
NSWC Carderock Division. Master plans, often called small area plans, are
more detailed long range planning documents that focus on a smaller portion
or community rather than the entire jurisdiction. They are often incorporated
into a comprehensive plan by reference. These plans do not make mention
of NSWC Carderock and the policies presented do not appear to be influenced by
the installation's activities, nor do they contain statements that would
directly affect military compatibility.
The indoor laboratory nature of the work at NSWC Carderock Division lessens
the degree of nuisance and other encroachment concerns faced by other installations
with an airfield or testing range missions. Although these concerns are
not as prevalent, compatible use and collaboration with the community remains
important. NSWC Carderock Division is engaged with the surrounding community
through STEM events and activities for local elementary, middle school,
and high school students. Other involvement includes offering internships
and opportunities for local college students to become involved in the highly
technical work that is performed at Carderock. Examples of this outreach
and engagement by Carderock include:
- Curriculum Enhanced Field Trips - NSWC Carderock
Division is home to many world-class testing facilities and labs that
support ship and submarine research and development. Tours and Curriculum-Enhanced
Field Trip activities can be tailored to specific grade levels and customized
for each group. Available to schools and academic-affiliated groups
for grades 3 and up.
- Mentoring and On-Site Competitions - Carderock employees
mentor local students for National Programs such as SeaPerch®, FIRST
LEGO League®, and MathCounts®; as well as home-grown programs such as
SeaPlane, SeaGlide®, and SeaJelly®. To put hands-on learning experiences
to the test, Carderock offers several on-site competitions such as Operation
Carderock (a FIRST® style local competitive event), and the Carderock
Math Contest (a MathCounts® style local competitive event). Every two
years, Carderock is the location for the one-of-a-kind International
Human-Powered Submarine Races!
- Educator Resources and Training - NSWC Carderock
offers Seaworthy STEM-In-A-Box and other training for local educators,
to support STEM in the classroom. These initiatives aim to provide enhanced
Naval-relevant, standards aligned, hands-on activities to K-12 teachers
and students. The Seaworthy STEM-In-A-Box program is designed to support
teachers as they select content, acquire materials, and implement more
hands-on STEM activities in their classrooms.
Internships and University Engagement - NSWC sponsors multiple different
internship/fellowship programs to high school students, college students,
postdoctoral researchers, and academic faculty. The potential work locations
can be at any of the Division Locations or Division Facilities listed
Learn more about how NSWC Carderock Division strategically plans for
future installation and technology growth, including plans for retention
and support of its growing workforce and interface with the community, in
the most recent Strategic Plan.
Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division Strategic Plan (2019-2024) -
NSWC Carderock Division's Strategic Plan lays the framework for the
installation to continuously create and adapt new technologies and processes
that support the warfighter. The plan is built around a series of strategic
and foundational pillars, each of which contain a goal and explanation
of the stakeholders, tools, and other implementation measures needed
to achieve the goal. While the Strategic Plan is technology and engineering
based, it alludes to some of the future infrastructure needs of the
facility as well as places an emphasis on continued collaboration with
industry, academia, and research institutions.
NavalX Tech Bridges are a connected network that enhances collaboration
between Naval Labs, industry, academia, and other military branches. A NavalX
Tech Bridge offers a collaboration space in a commercial business space,
rather than on base. An off-base location offers a more easily accessible
landing spot to foster a collaboration ecosystem to build productive partnerships
and accelerate delivery of dual use solutions to the warfighter. A NavalX
Tech Bridge offers access to state and local government and academic agencies
creating a richer regional innovation ecosystem and further supporting economic
- NavalX Capital Tech Bridge - The goal of the Capital Tech Bridge
is to facilitate large scale industry and academic engagement through
events in easily accessible, off-base facilities in the National
Capital Region (NCR). Drawing on the talents of the NCR industrial
base, academia, and government partners, the Capital Tech Bridge
will enable research and development partnerships, accelerate technology
development and delivery to the warfighter, connect to Navy/USMC
programs for requirements and user feedback, develop dual-use technologies
to meet national defense needs, enhance the regional economic strength
with novel commercial products, and develop the next generation
of STEM professionals.
Economic Resources to Promote Compatibility
A jurisdiction's economic development office and support organizations offer a variety of resources that help the community seek out economic growth opportunities and strengthen existing businesses. These resources are particularly valuable for defense communities who are continually looking for ways to attract new business, retain a skilled workforce, and provide resources and opportunities for military families relocating to the area.
NSWC Carderock Division generates more than 3,799 direct, indirect, and induced jobs as a result of its operations in Bethesda and the surrounding region.3 This includes the military, civilian, and contractor employees responsible for carrying out the installation's mission and the employment opportunities generated by local spending on goods and services by the workforce. For a breakdown of employment type by installation, refer to the installation's
economic impact analysis sheet.
According to the
FY 2021 Economic Impact of Maryland's Military Installations and the Associated Defense Ecosystem, prepared by the Maryland Department of Commerce, the annual economic output for
NSWC Carderock Division (sum of direct, indirect, and induced impacts) is $580M, with a total employee compensation of $426M.4
of the Navy's (DON) Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) promotes
small business acquisition opportunities to support the needs of sailors
and marines through policy, advocacy, counseling, and training. The OSBP
promotes systems, innovation, products, and tools to support the mission
and provides guides and videos to assist small businesses in working with
the Navy. The vision for the program is to create a culture of small business
inclusiveness across the DON.
NSWC Carderock Division Technology Transfer Office collaborates with
commercial entities to affect the transfer of federally funded research,
development, and technologies, benefiting the greater scientific community,
the private sector, and the overall economy and public welfare of the citizens
of the United States and the world. The Technology Transfer Office uses
multiple tools that have been authorized by Congress to accomplish this
including a Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), Patent
License Agreements (PLAs), Educational Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with
universities and other higher learning institutions, as well as active participation
in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) activities with elementary,
middle, and high school students.
- Cooperative Research
and Development Agreements (CRADA) - This agreement allows Carderock
to work with non-federal organizations (i.e. private sector, universities,
not-for-profit entities, states, territories, etc.) on projects that
are of mutual interest and benefit to the parties involved. Each agreement
is tailored to the specific project and can include sharing of personnel,
data, facilities, etc., or all these resources. The projects range from
laboratory, bench scale research and development through pilot studies
and fielding of prototypes, up through full demonstrations of technologies,
as with the Joint Prototyping
and Experimentation Maritime.
- Patent License Agreements (PLA) - This program provides private
companies with the opportunity to commercialize patents held by Carderock.
Carderock retains the rights to use the given patent for government
purposes, and, based on the commercialization plan that must be submitted
as part of the PLA application, provides the private company with the
ability to obtain royalties, other legal rights, and potential exclusivity
to ensure the opportunity provides a sufficient return on investment.
NSWC Carderock is located within the
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) regional planning
area. The COG works on region-wide topics of transportation, environmental,
community, homeland security and public safety, and other emerging subjects
such as regional resiliency. The COG Board of Directors establishes annual
and long-term priorities, and increased partnering with state and federal
legislators and agencies is at the top of their list. Topics for partnering
include Chesapeake Bay restoration, funding for public transportation, economic
competitiveness, infrastructure needs, and others. COG meetings are announced
and open to the public and the Executive Director provides a monthly report
that summarizes key aspects of the board's work.
1 Who We Are - NSWC Carderock Division.
. Naval Sea Systems Command.
2 What We Do - NSWC Carderock Division.
Naval Sea Systems Command.3
FY 2021 Economic Impact of Maryland's Military Installations and the Associated Defense Ecosystem. Maryland Department of Commerce. FY 2021 Economic Impact of Maryland's Military Installations and the Associated Defense Ecosystem.