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Navy base makes big impact on King George

 Dan Wise prepares to take readings at a  test of the Office of Naval Research-funded electromagnetic  railgun  at the   base in Dahlgren. Both General Atomics and BAE Systems have designed next-generation prototype  railguns capable of increased firing rates.  (JOHN F. WILLIAMS/U.S. NAVY)

Dan Wise prepares to take readings at a test of the Office of Naval Research-funded electromagnetic railgun at the base in Dahlgren. Both General Atomics and BAE Systems have designed next-generation prototype railguns capable of increased firing rates. (JOHN F. WILLIAMS/U.S. NAVY)

The Dahlgren Navy base is a key driver of the region’s economy, thanks to its thousands of jobs and enormous payroll.

The King George County base, according to the latest economic profile, is one of the area’s largest employers, with more than 7,600 workers as of the beginning of January. Of those, 4,703 are civilians working for nearly 20 separate military commands and supporting organizations at what’s now called the Naval Support Facility Dahlgren along the Potomac River.

Most of them work for eight tenant commands. Another 2,500 are defense contractors who work on base.

Those include representatives for companies such as General Atomics and BAE Systems, which have built launcher prototypes for a planned electromagnetic rail gun under development at Dahlgren.

About 422 are military personnel stationed on base working for tenant commands such as the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division and the Aegis Training and Readiness Center.

The economic summary covers the fiscal year, which ran from October 2012 through September 2013.

How the numbers will change this year, in light of ongoing automatic spending cuts of sequestration on the military, is unclear.

During the last fiscal year, the base pumped an estimated $1.1 billion into the local economy.

The lion’s share came from the combined payroll, amounting to $523 million, with another $559 million going to defense contractors in Planning District 16. The district includes Fredericksburg and the counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George and Caroline.

The report offers some insight as to where the workforce is distributed.

Of the civil servants and military working for the base, 1,845 (38 percent) live in King George. Next highest is Spotsylvania County with 740 (15 percent), followed by Stafford County with 435 (9 percent) of the total.

The rest come from outlying jurisdictions in Virginia and Maryland. More than 300 civilian employees and military personnel (7 percent) commute from points in southern Maryland.

Naval Support Facility Dahlgren began in 1918 as an extension of the Indian Head Proving Ground in southern Maryland. Over the years, it evolved into one of the Navy’s key research and development sites. More recently, the Naval Support Facility Dahlgren has become a hub for developing missile-defense technology.

Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431

rdennen@freelancestar.com

ABOUT THE BASE 

Naval Support Facility Dahlgren has eight tenant commands. Those include the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (the largest); the Navy Air and Missile Defense Command; Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Field Activity; Center for Surface Combat Systems; Aegis Training and Readiness Center; Joint Warfare Analysis Center; Air Force 20th Space Control Squadron, Detachment 1; and the Air Force 614th Air and Space Operations Center, Detachment 1.

—U.S. Navy

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