Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division

​​Mission and Vision St​atement
Mission​: "Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division's (NSWCCD) mission is to  provide full spectrum r​esearch and development, test and evaluation, anal​ysis, acquis​ition, and ​Fleet support for the Navy's ships, ship systems, and associated Navy logistics systems. S​pecific emphasis is to provide the core technical capabilities required for the integration of surface and undersea vehicles and associated systems, to develop and apply science and technology associated with naval architecture and marine engineering, and to provide support to the maritime industry.​"
“Our vision is to be the Navy's trusted partner for identifying and providing world-class, cost-effective, and innovative technical solutions for advanced ships and ship systems, enabling the warfighter to execute their missions and maintain their technological edge.”
(Source: Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division Strategic Plan 2019-2024)

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 reloca​ted 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.

Watch the NSWC Carderock Division video tour to learn more about the Division and its various technologies.

Major Facilities and Locations

  • 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 ships.

  • 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.

Local Comprehensive Planning


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 resources.

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.

Other Planning and Coordination Efforts


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 above.

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 development.

  • 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 Workforce and Economic Impact


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 NS​WC Carderock Division (sum of direct, indirect, and induced impacts) is $580M, with a total employee compensation of $426M.4​​

NSWC Carderock Division Small Business Programs


The Department 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


The 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.

Economic Development in Montgomery County


Montgomery County's Economic Development Office (MCEDC) works to strengthen business development throughout the county and offers a variety of programs and services to foster business retention, growth, and new investment for businesses of all sizes. The office partners with many organizations to foster economic stability and growth, including NSWC Carderock Division, the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, the Maryland Department of Commerce, Small Business Development Center, NSWC Carderock Division Technology Transfer Office, and the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation.

MCEDC adopted an Economic Development Strategic Plan in April 2022 that presents a unified vision for economic development in the county and includes target metrics and strategies to increase business activity. The plan acknowledges life sciences and advanced technology as economic drivers and prioritizes recommendations to aggressively recruit and retain talent and utilize public-private partnerships with the county's existing research assets.

Regional Transportation Organization


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.
What We Do - NSWC Carderock Division. Naval Sea Systems Command.
​3 FY ​2021 Economic Impact of Maryland's Military Installatio​ns and the Associated Defense Ecosystem. Maryland Department of Commerce. FY 2021 Economic Impact of Maryland's Military Installations and the Associated Defense Ecosystem.
4​ Ibid.​

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