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NIWC Atlantic Welcomes New Commanding Officer

011121 | Nov. 8, 2021

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. — Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic hosted a change of command ceremony in Charleston, South Carolina, Nov. 4.

Captain Nicole K. Nigro became the sixth commanding officer of NIWC Atlantic, assuming the role from Capt. Wesley S. Sanders, who is retiring after 29 years of naval service.

While physical attendance at the event was limited due to coronavirus safety measures, the event was streamed online broadly allowing NIWC Atlantic’s global workforce to tune in safely and virtually from around the world.

As the new commanding officer, Nigro leads NIWC Atlantic’s approximately 5,000 federal civil service employees and military personnel located at the center's headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina, and at other sites in Hampton Roads, Virginia; New Orleans, Louisiana; Tampa, Florida; Washington, D.C.; and overseas locations in Europe, the Middle East and Antarctica.

Retired Rear Adm. Paul A. Sohl, CEO, Florida High Tech Corridor Council, served as guest speaker at the ceremony. Sohl noted with foretelling anticipation that the idea of Sanders’ retirement is a complete mismatch in his mind.

“I can’t possibly imagine Wes retiring from anything,” said Sohl. “The next chapter for the Sanders family, whatever that turns out to be, will be even better, even more impactful, even more significant than what they’ve done for us in the Navy.”

Rear Adm. Doug Small, Commander, Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) and presiding officer of the change of command ceremony, recognized the importance of the vast and unique workforce and acknowledged the seamless transition between the outgoing and incoming leadership.

“NIWC Atlantic is a special place, with a global workforce supporting Sailors, Marines, and the Joint force all over the world. Today we honor and bid farewell to a great leader in Wes Sanders, who led this incredible team through an amazing time, and welcome Nicole Nigro, another of our Navy’s finest leaders, to relieve Wes’ watch,” Small said.

During the ceremony, Sanders received the Legion of Merit award for his “extraordinary vision and outstanding leadership” which “facilitated the masterful transformation of the command into a highly effective and efficient competency aligned/integrated product team organization.”

Specifically, the award highlighted how, under Sanders’ leadership, NIWC Atlantic successfully met warfighter needs through the development, acquisition, and lifecycle support of command, control, communication, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems in an ever-changing environment, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

During his remarks, Sanders offered his gratitude to the NIWC Atlantic team for their commitment and leadership demonstrated during his tenure as commanding officer in support of the naval and joint warfighter.

“I have had the distinct privilege to hold this position during a unique and challenging time – globally, nationally and even locally at NIWC Atlantic,” said Sanders. “Together, we navigated through the rough waters of a worldwide pandemic, and overcame uncertain and changing circumstances. Despite what we faced, I’m humbled to have been part of a team that pushed forward with decisive leadership and an unwavering commitment to the warfighter. Because of this team, we never stopped delivering on our promise to our nation and our Navy – thank you!”

In closing, Sanders welcomed Nigro and her family, and spoke to the “incredible journey” that lies ahead under her leadership.

Nigro comes to NIWC Atlantic after serving as Executive Officer/Senior Course director at Engineering Duty Officer (EDO) school in Port Hueneme, California since April 2019 with an assigned focus on transitioning the traditional curriculum to problem-based learning to better prepare new EDOs for their upcoming tours.

“I am excited, honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to be part of the NIWC Atlantic team and very much looking forward to furthering our mission to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter,” Nigro said.

As a part of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities.
  • NIWC Atlantic Public Affairs
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