Installation Overview: Naval Support Activity Bethesda, Maryland

The 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) Report to the President for reshaping the Defense Department's infrastructure and force structure resulted in the closure of both National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and the National Naval Medical Center was rechristened Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on September 15, 2011, shortly after the closing of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  This merged facility is staffed by Army, Navy, and Air Force medical personnel and has become the core of an integrated military medicine system in the National Capital Region.

This overview will cover Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bethesda.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt selected the present site in Bethesda, Maryland, and ground was broken for the Naval Medical Center in 1939.  The original Medical Center was designed to hold 1,200 beds, the Naval Medical School, the Naval Dental School, and the Naval Medical Research Institute.

In 1973, the Naval Regional Health Care System was established, which placed all naval health care facilities within the Naval District Washington under the authority of the Commander of the Medical Center and the same year the hospital was consolidated into one command to form National Naval Medical Center.

Following the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommendation that resulted in congressional legislation ordering the consolidation of National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) and Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), years of planning and a gradual transition of installation management functions - performed by civilian, military and contract personnel - culminated in the smooth transition of base operating support management under a single, Navy-led joint military command.

The mission of NSA Bethesda is to support the hospital as well as all of its tenant commands in their pursuit of excellence in patient care, medical research, and education.​

Location/Driving Directions

Naval Support Activity, Bethesda, located in Montgomery County Maryland North West of Washington D.C., situated inside the inner loop of the beltway.

There are three Airports that service the DC area:  Dulles International Airport, Baltimore Washington Airport (BWI) and Reagan National Airport. Dulles International Airport is the most convenient to the base. There are no Base shuttles that run from the airports. Reagan National does have a Metro Station within the Airport. The Metro can be taken from there to the Medical Center Metro Station where shuttles run to the base.

Reagan National Airport - From the Airport, exit north on George Washington Parkway. After about 2 miles, you will see but do not take a left exit for Memorial Bridge and Arlington National Cemetery. Be sure to bear right and continue on GW Parkway, which follows the Potomac River on the Virginia side, for approximately 12 miles. From right lane, exit onto I-495, Capital Beltway, heading north to Maryland. You will be on the inner loop of the Beltway. Take Exit 34, Rt. 355 South, Wisconsin Ave., towards Bethesda. Get in left lane. Cross Cedar Lane intersection; at first median crossing (no light), turn left into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center . At the guard station, show ID. From here you will be directed to parking.

Dulles International Airport - Drive east on the Dulles Airport Access Road for approximately 13 miles. Exit onto I-495 North, the Capital Beltway, towards Maryland on the inner loop of the Beltway. Take Exit 34, Rt. 355 South, Wisconsin Ave. towards Bethesda. Get in left lane. Cross Cedar Lane intersection; at first median crossing (no light), turn left into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. At the guard station, show ID. From here you will be directed to parking.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) - Follow the airport access road, I-195 to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Drive south on the Parkway for approximately 18 miles to I-495 West (right), the Capital Beltway towards Silver Spring/Bethesda for approximately 12 miles. You will be on the outer loop of the Beltway. Take Exit 34, Rt. 355 South, Wisconsin Ave./Rockville Pike. As you exit from the Beltway, stay in right lane and immediately bear left at light to loop under and south on Rt. 355 towards Bethesda. Cross Cedar Lane intersection; at first median crossing (no light), turn left into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. At the guard station, show ID. From here you will be directed to parking.

Main Phone Numbers

Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Appointments:  1-866-NAVYMED (1-866-628-9633)

Child Development Center 1 (BLDG 26): 301-295-0014

Child Development Center 2 (BLDG 87): 301-400-1200

Combined Bachelor's Quarters (CBQ), Comfort Hall (Building 60):  301-295-5855

Combined Bachelor's Quarters (CBQ), Solace Hall (Building 61): 301-295-5288

Dental Services:  301-295-4339 / 301-295-4340

Fisher House:  (301) 295-5334

Fleet and Family Support Center:  301-319-4087 / 301-319-3826

Hospital Information:  (301) 295-4000

Housing Service Center:  (301) 295-1138, (301) 295-0798 / DSN: 295-1138

Morale Welfare & Recreation (MWR) InfoCenter:  301-295-0434

Navy College 301-295-2014/5423

Navy Federal Credit Union 1-888-842-6328

Navy Lodge Bethesda:  (301) 654-1795

Navy Lodge, Washington Navy Yard, DC:  (202) 563-6950

Navy-Marine Relief Society 301-295-1207

One Stop Shop 301-295-6300

Operational Readiness 301-295-2880

Pass and ID, Decals and Badges 301-295-4607

Patient Administration 301-295-2126

Pharmacy 301-319-3432

Physical Therapy 301-295-4880

TRICARE Services 1-877-TRICARE

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center:  301-295-4611 / 1-800-526-7101

Population/Major Units Assigned

Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) is responsible for providing installation support to 12,000 military, and civilian employees and their families. There are 40 DOD and federal agencies tenant units on base, including (but not limited to) Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USU), Navy Medicine Professional Development Center (NMPDC), National Capital Region Medical Directorate (NCR-MD), Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC), Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Navy College, Navy Medical Inspector General Office (IG), Veterans Affairs (VA), Fisher House Foundation, American Red Cross, Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS), Navy Medical Support Command (NMSC), Army Education Services, Army Warrior Transition Brigade and Army Troop Command.

Temporary Lodging

The Fisher House. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Operating under the Navy Exchange Service Command, the Navy Lodge (located on base) offers 106 guest rooms for service members funded by their service if they have a medical appointment or are Temporary Additional Duty, Permanent Change of Station or Temporary Duty.

This is a nonsmoking facility. Amenities include: Ice, rollaways, free daily newspaper, snack vending, fully equipped kitchenette (dishes, pans, etc.), Cable TV(HBO), air conditioning, FAX/Copy service, microwave, radio/clock, cribs, dining table, irons/ironing boards, on-site laundry facilities, barbeque grills, base shuttle service.

Reservations can be made via the web page or by calling 301-654-1795, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Reservation and room assignments are accepted on an as-received basis without regard to rank, rate or time of reservation. The Navy Lodge has limited pet friendly and ADA compliant rooms, call to check availability.

The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Fisher Houses on Naval Support Activity Bethesda provides a "home away from home" for families of patients admitted for medical care at the medical center. The Fisher Houses represent the commitment to provide quality care and support to patients and their families during a time of need. Providing five homes for families, the WRNMMC Fisher Houses offer comfortably furnished rooms, with adjoining bathroom, fully equipped kitchens, living, dining and laundry rooms.  Phone: (301) 295-5334

Off-Base Lodging (when on-base is unavailable) - For TAD/TDY guests, lodging staff will coordinate off-base lodging with one of their contract quarter properties in the local area and issue a Non-Availability Letter to the guest. The TDY member is responsible for paying the hotel charges and must request reimbursement through his/her travel voucher upon completion of the TDY. This service is not available for space-available guests.


The Housing Office is your link to both on-base and off-base housing information, and may be contacted (301) 295-0798 / (301) 295-1138  The Naval Support Activity, Bethesda Housing office is located in Building 17 on NSAB, and its Hours of Operation are Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Government quarters at NSA Bethesda is limited to five for senior officers and three for senior enlisted stationed at Bethesda.

Government off base units are available in Bellevue Housing in Washington, DC., Ft. Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, and Glen Haven in Wheaton, Maryland.

Depending on where you live, where your command is located, and the time of day you report to work, you are likely to encounter a lengthy commute in the Washington area. It is not unusual to spend 45-90 minutes one-way if your commute includes rush hour on any of the major arteries in the area.

NSA Bethesda Unaccompanied Housing (UH) information is supplied by the Combined Bachelor's Quarters (CBQ) upon check in. Single permanent-party members in grades E-4 and below are required to reside in the barracks dormitory and must report to the barracks supervisor upon arrival for room assignment in Building 60 (Comfort Hall) or 61 (Solace Hall).

There are limited single NCO accommodations on base but there are more located within the National Capital Region (NCR). Geographical Bachelor housing is not available.

Solace Hall (building 61) - consists of 216 rooms. Currently each room houses 2 personnel, but facilities are in the process of going to single occupancy rooms, with a common head connecting adjacent rooms.

Comfort Hall (building 60) - consists of 168 rooms, but due to renovations on the West wing, only 84 rooms currently available. 

Local private housing

Current Department of Defense and Navy directives state that all military personnel “are directed to report to the appropriate Housing Referral Office prior to negotiating any agreement for off-base housing.”

Local areas considered within a 60-minute commute of base during rush hour traffic include the entire area of D.C., nearly all of Montgomery County, small portions of Frederick County, and Prince Georges County in Maryland, as well as the city of Alexandria, some of Fairfax County, Louden County, and Arlington County in Virginia. Finding a home off base is fairly easy; however, the associated costs may be higher than what you are currently paying. Pets routinely require a substantial deposit in many local area rentals.  The 12-month lease is common, but short-term leases may be available at higher rental fee.  A military clause required in all leases.


There are no DoD schools at the NSA Bethesda (NSAB) Montgomery County; however, has abundant educational opportunities for preschoolers through adults. The local public school system is the Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) system.

The Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) system is the largest school systems in Maryland and the 16 largest school systems in the country.  The system consists of 131 elementary 389 middle and 25 high schools, as well as special education centers, charter schools and technology centers.  MCPS serves approximately 144,064 students.

Information on the Home Schooling in Maryland and local procedures may be obtained from the Montgomery County Public Schools Home Schooling Coordinator at 301-279-3912.

The School Liaison Officer (SLO) is the primary point of contact between the military installation, the local school administration, parents and the community at large. Specific responsibilities include advising the installation commander on all matters concerning student education and school operations; fostering a responsive, cooperative relationship between school representatives and the military community; and maintaining school transition support for military children.  Parents with questions about school-age child education are encouraged to contact the installation School Liaison Officer at 301-295-7849.

There are a number of private and parochial schools in the Annapolis area. Information about specific schools can be obtained from the Association of Independent Maryland & DC Schools website.

Child Care

Naval Support Activity Bethesda offers full time child development services for active duty military personnel assigned duty in the local Washington, DC/Maryland/Virginia area - the National Naval Medical Center, its tenant commands and the National Capital Area. Defense Department civilians of NNMC and its tenant commands are also eligible to use the facility on a space-available basis.

There are two Child Development Centers (CDC) – CDC 1 (BLDG 26, listed as being under renovation as of Oct 2014), and CDC 2 (BLDG 87), providing Full Time Childcare Facilities for children ages from 6 weeks to 5 years, Monday thru Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Children are assigned to classrooms based on age and developmental level: infants, pre-toddlers, toddlers, and preschoolers (age 3 to 5).  The center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Navy Child Development Programs.

While there is a waiting time of approximately six months to one year, priority is given to wounded warriors, single and dual military parents.  For Waiting List or application information, please call Resource and Referral at 202-685-1197.

Austin's Room (Hourly Care) - Care provided primarily for families of Wounded Warriors in Building 62, Room B307E (basement level). Care is not to exceed 25 hours per week per child. Fees for this service are currently being paid by Pentagon Federal Credit Union. Use of this facility requires prior approval by Walter Reed National Medical Center Liaison, Warrior Family Coordination Cell at 301-295-4891.

The New Parent Support Program (NPSP) offers information, support and guidance to military families who are expecting a child and/or have children ages birth to three years of age. Services are provided free of charge to eligible families. NPSP staff provides support in the areas of pregnancy, labor and delivery, newborn/infant/toddler care and safety, growth and development, parenting and family relationships through home visits, classes, educational /support groups and referrals to community services. NPSP staff understands the impact that military life can have on expectant and new families, including deployments and separation from family and friends, and assist families to cope with these special situations. NPSP services are tailored to each family's unique circumstances, and can help with adaptation to military life, preparation for parenthood, enhancing parenting skills, understanding growth and development, couple communication and stress management.  NPSP services are available to military families with an expectant mother and/or children ages birth to three years of age.

Naval Support Activity Bethesda does not have a Youth Center.

Medical Care

Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

All medical services are provided by Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), the flagship of Military Medicine.  Walter Reed National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. is the cornerstone of the Walter Reed Health Care System.

Walter Reed Health Care System facilities serve 150,000 beneficiaries enrolled in TRICARE Prime, providing all their primary and specialty care medical needs. Active duty personnel also use the Active Duty Dental Clinics in these facilities for their dental care. Family members use civilian dentist under the TRICARE Dental Plan. Those eligible for care within the system include reservist and National Guard personnel who have activated or who have demobilized with a period of extended health care benefits.

Appointments -- Prime enrollees get priority appointments within the WRHCS. To schedule a medical appointment, they and non-Prime beneficiaries seeking space available slots call Walter Reed's Central Appointing Service at (800) 4333574 or (202) 782-7761. Primary care appointments do not require referrals. Appointments in specialty clinics usually do require referrals.

The WRHCS booking clerks have access to DEERS and will check the eligibility and TRICARE status of callers and will look for electronic referrals from other military providers. A beneficiary who moves to the area and enrolls will receive a copy of the enrollment form, and using that, can make appointments during the period that the system is being changed to show the latest enrollment in DEERS.

Care at WRHCS includes basic, general medical care and almost any kind of specialty care available in the world of medicine today.