Coastal Systems Station (CSS)
Located on a 648-acre tract along St. Andrew Bay in Panama City, Florida, and with direct, deep-water access to the Gulf of Mexico, the Coastal Systems Station (CSS) is the Navy's premier organization responsible for cradle-to-grave support for mission areas within the coastal environment, including Mine Warfare, Amphibious Warfare, Special Warfare, and Diving Systems. CSS is ideally positioned-both geographically and in terms of recognized mission areas and technical expertise-to be a key participant in the arena of joint expeditionary operations in the littoral environment.
Coastal Systems Station is one of the major research, development, test and evaluation laboratories of the U.S. Navy and boasts a wide base of expertise in engineering and scientific disciplines. It is one of Bay County's finest resources and employs approximately 2,000 civilian and military personnel with an annual payroll of about $117 million. CSS contracts services, buys local goods, and maintains an active construction program. Its economic impact on Bay County is about $336 million annually.
The Athena Research Vessels are based in Panama City, and include three converted Asheville-class patrol gunboats. Two have been converted to support general hydrodynamic and acoustic testing, and one supports electromagnetic signatures testing.
The Coastal Systems Station (CSS) is located on beautiful St. Andrew Bay in Panama City, Florida, with direct, deep-water access to the Gulf of Mexico. Panama City provides a perfect location and environment for conducting year-round testing and research. With deep water just minutes from ship's berths, the clear blue-green Gulf of Mexico is as ideal for test and evaluation as for the many recreational uses enjoyed by countless vacationers.
Throughout its existence, CSS's mission, size, and responsibilities have continued to evolve to meet the demanding requirements of the U.S. Navy-to defend today and to plan for tomorrow in response to national needs. CSS traces its origins to the closing days of World War II when equipment, facilities, and personnel were transferred from the U.S. Naval Mine Warfare Test Station, Solomons, Maryland, to Panama City, Florida, where the U.S. Navy Mine Countermeasures Station was established on July 20, 1945.
Over the years, the mission of CSS has expanded beyond mine warfare to include amphibious warfare, maritime special warfare, diving and life support, and coastal operations, as well as other specially focused advanced countermeasures. More recently, CSS has become increasingly involved in the broad areas of expeditionary warfare, joint littoral warfare, counterdrug operations, operations other than war, and operations in the coastal arena.
As a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command and an integral component of the Naval Surface Warfare Center's Dahlgren Division, CSS is one of the Navy's major RDT&E laboratories, with a wide base of expertise in science and technology, engineering, modeling and simulation, and T&E. With its major tenant commands-the Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU) and Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center (NDSTC)-CSS provides the nucleus for all Department of Defense diving efforts. Also included in the tenant community are the U.S. Coast Guard, the Florida Marine Patrol, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Coastal Systems Station had its origin in the mine countermeasures research conducted during World War II at the U.S. Naval Mine Warfare Test Station, Solomons, Maryland. In 1945, equipment, facilities, and personnel were transferred from Solomons to Panama City, Florida, to occupy a 373 acre tract, in caretaker status. This same tract was used as a Naval Section Base in 1942, the U.S. Naval Amphibious Training Base in 1944, and was inactivated in June 1945. It was established as the U.S. Navy Mine Countermeasures Station 20 July 1945.
By 1955, the Countermeasures Station had achieved laboratory status and was renamed to the U.S. Navy Mine Defense Laboratory in April 1955. Its mission had been expanded to include torpedo countermeasures, helicopter mine countermeasures, mine hunting and mine watching study projects, and other advanced countermeasures.
The Laboratory became an activity of the Naval Ship Research and Development Center, Carderock, Maryland, 1 November 1967, and was renamed the Naval Ship Research and Development Laboratory, Panama City, November 1968. A naval internal reorganization effort to combine several of the closely related R&D laboratories resulted in the Panama City and Annapolis laboratories being combined with the David Taylor Naval Ship Research and Development Center at Carderock.
In February 1972, it was renamed the Naval Coastal Systems Laboratory. Its mission had expanded into special warfare areas such as inshore undersea warfare and amphibious operations. In its separate command status, the laboratory reported directly to the Chief of Naval Material.
In March 1978, the name changed to Naval Coastal Systems Center (NCSC) to more accurately reflect the broad range of products and services provided and to bring its name into consonance with the other (then) seven RDT&E centers commanded by the Chief of Naval Material. Upon disestablishment of the Naval Material Command in 1985, NCSC reported to the Office of the Chief of Naval Research. From 1986 through 1991, NCSC reported to the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. In October 1991, it was realigned under the Naval Sea Systems Command.
In January 1992, NCSC was re-designated the Coastal Systems Station (CSS), Dahlgren Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, reporting to the Naval Sea Systems Command. Its mission is to (1) support the mission of the Dahlgren Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center by providing research, development, test and evaluation, and in-service engineering for mine warfare, special warfare, amphibious warfare, diving and other naval missions that take place primarily in the coastal region, and (2) execute other responsibilities as assigned by the Commander, Dahlgren Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center.
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