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    NSF Indian Head, MD History

    Naval Support Facility Indian Head is home to the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) and is the largest nine NAVSEA Warfare Center Enterprise divisions. With over 800 scientists and engineers, this is the largest workforce in the entire DoD.

    This support facility was started in 1890 as the Naval Proving Ground. By 1913 it had expanded from guns and ammo to include shells and powder, then began producing smokeless powder for the US during World War I, prompting a name change to the Naval Powder Factory. It soon became a chemical factory and the Bureau of Ordnance allowed research of experimental new propellants in 1947.

    During the 1940s, Polaris long-range missile fuel was produced here. Along with the ever-changing productions of this station, the name changed just as often; the powder factory had become a Naval Propellant Plant in 1958 and soon changed once again in 1966 to the Naval Ordnance Station (NOS).

    The 1960s saw such notable productions as the C-3 plastic explosives in 1965, the Zuni rocket in 1966, Polaris casting powder from 1961-67, and the Poseidon casting powder in 1967. In 1989, the Naval Sea Systems Command designated the NOS as a "center of excellence" for its development in guns, energetic chemicals, missiles and rockets, ordnance devices, and explosive process development in engineering.

    In 2003, the management of Naval Ordnance Station changed over to Commander Navy Installation Command (CNIC) to provide shore installation management to all Naval activities. As an installation in the National Capital Region, NOS was aligned with Naval District Washington (NDW) and was renamed Naval Support Facility Indian Head. Today it serves the US Navy, DoD, and Allied Nations through the research, development, test and evaluation of energetics and their systems and provides all Armed Services with knowledge and safety regarding every aspect of explosive threats.