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NEWS | Sept. 19, 2018

It's been an honor and a privilege to serve in Charleston

By U.S. Navy Capt. Scott Heller, commanding officer SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic

Next month, after a little more than three years as commanding officer of Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center Atlantic, I will pass the mantle of leadership to Capt. Wesley Sanders in a traditional Navy change of command ceremony.  In these last 1,113 days as CO of SSC Atlantic, I have traveled the globe to meet our deployed employees, industry partners and customers. From Stuttgart to Naples to Bahrain to Rota and around the world, I am amazed at how our strong, dedicated team provides information warfare solutions for Navy, Marine Corps, joint and combined operations.

Our team delivers and supports cybersecurity, satellite systems, air traffic control, undersea surveillance equipment, cyber encryption, cyber surveillance, remote sensors, tactical and business information technology capabilities – everything from the seabed to space.

For me, the last three years have been immensely rewarding, and it has been a very busy time at SSC Atlantic. Our accredited Red Team and Cyber Forensics Criminal Investigations lab are making contributions to cybersecurity across the Department of Defense. Large-scale Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) installations were completed on surface ships and submarines, along with C4ISR modernization involving sensors, communications, weapons, information and control systems that enhance mission readiness.

We deployed the Multi-Reconfigurable Training System (MRTS) to make Sailor learning more efficient, and we serve the Department of Defense through our Component Enterprise Data Center (CEDC). Our scientists and engineers are working with Office of Naval Research, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Naval Research and Development Establishment and other partners to innovate tomorrow’s Navy today. We’ve made a difference in speed to capability by streamlining our contracting processes and establishing the Information Warfare Research Program which uses other transaction authority to enable rapidly advancing information warfare technologies to the fleet. We are at the forefront of cloud computing, mobility solutions, autonomy and data science and analytics.

We’ve made a difference in the Lowcountry defense establishment and increased our engagement with industry partners through the Charleston Defense Contractors Association, Small Business Industry Outreach Initiative, technical exchanges and industry days. We made a difference in attracting young students to pursue the science, technology, engineering and math careers our nation needs through our STEM Outreach program, including robotics, science fairs, internships, shadow days, cyber defense competitions and other activities. We made a difference in our communities through Adopt-a-Highway, Habitat for Humanity, the Combined Federal Campaign, blood drives, Feds Feed Families, Toys for Tots and Day of Caring, to name a few. 

I want to give a special thanks to the Joint Base Charleston team and to all of you who shared in our collective vision to make Charleston a joint logistics, transportation and engineering hub with multi-mission warfighter support. As I end this tour and my active duty naval career, I have an unbounding pride in our mission and an abiding confidence in the future.

This was my third tour at SSC Atlantic and my family and I have always looked forward to returning to Charleston. Now, like so many other transitioning service members, we will make Charleston our permanent home. The respect for service members, families and retirees – and the hospitality and patriotism we see every day in the Lowcountry – has always made Charleston feel like home to us.

Please accept my sincerest "thank you" for your tremendous support during my tenure as the SSC Atlantic commanding officer. The support and dedication of our joint base team has been inspirational. Throughout these past three years, you have continued to demonstrate not only exceptional dedication to our mission but also a genuine passion for delivering the most capability possible to our warfighters. It has been an honor and privilege to serve you and serve with you.