Installation Overview: Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, Virginia

The United States Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD), named for Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren, is located in Dahlgren, Virginia and is part of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. Naval Support Facility Dahlgren is located on the western shore of the Potomac River, King George County, Virginia, approximately 25 miles east of Fredericksburg and 40 miles south of Washington, D.C.

In 1918, NSWCDD was established with the primary mission of testing all ordnance materials. Since then, the mission of NSWCDD has evolved from the traditional proving ground to research-and-development operations. NSWCDD, under the jurisdiction of Naval Sea Systems Command, hosts the Naval Space Command, the Joint Warfare Analysis Command, and the AEGIS Training Center. NSWCDD conducts basic research in all systems-related areas and pursues scientific disciplines including biotechnology, chemistry, mathematics, laser and computer technology, chemical, mechanical, electrical and systems engineering, physics and computer science. Distinguished figures who have worked for the NSWCDD include physicists Albert Einstein, Edward Teller, Carl Norden, and computer pioneers Howard Aiken and Grace Hopper.

Naval Support Facility Dahlgren and its tenant commands continue to evolve and expand to include numerous scientific and response-force missions serving all branches of the United States armed forces.

Here is the official website for Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division.

Location/Driving Directions

Dahlgren is located about 30 miles east of Fredericksburg, VA approximately an hour and a half south of Washington, D.C. and an hour and forty minutes north of Richmond, Virginia. The closest airport is Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.

From Reagan National Airport, Washington, D.C.

If you're arriving at the Reagan National Airport in Washington DC, your commute will be at least 1 1/2 hours depending on commuter rush hour. When leaving the Reagan National Airport, follow US Route 1 South to I-495 North. You will cross the Woodrow Wilson Bridge into Maryland, take Route 210 south (Indian Head Highway) for 10 miles. Turn left onto Route 228 (7 miles). Turn south onto Route 301 (27.5 miles). Continue on Route 301 south to the Harry Nice Bridge toll plaza ($3). Approximately 2 miles after the bridge on the Virginia side turn left at 2nd traffic light onto Route 206E (Dahlgren Road) continue straight ahead until you reach the Dahlgren Main Gate.

From Interstate 95

Take I-95 South to Exit 130A (Route 3 East) towards downtown Fredericksburg. Continue straight on Route 3 (Blue/Grey Highway) for approximately 2 miles. Bear to the right on Route 3 towards King George and proceed 17 miles to Route 206 (Dahlgren Road). Proceed on Route 206 for 11 miles until you get to the intersection of Route 301 and 206. Continue straight ahead on Route 206 until you reach the Dahlgren Main Gate.

From Norfolk and Points South

Please allow at least 2-1/2 hours. Take I-64 West to Route 17 (Exit 258) for 18.5 miles. Go North on Route 17 to Route 301 Port Royal (101.5 miles). Turn right onto Route 301 North for about 15-20 miles. Turn right on Route 206 E in Dahlgren at the traffic light at the intersection of the Burger King and 7-11 stores. Proceed to Dahlgren Main Gate. From Norfolk, you can also take Interstate 64 to Richmond VA and pick up Interstate 95 North to the Fredericksburg Exit at Route 3 East. Follow directions given above from I-95.

Traveling by Train or Bus

If you are arriving by train or bus, both make stops in Fredericksburg about 30 miles from Dahlgren. The Amtrak train stops in downtown Fredericksburg and there is a Greyhound bus station on Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg located across the street from the famous Carl's Ice Cream Stand. There is no public transportation to Dahlgren. Taxi service is available but can be expensive ($60). Recommend military members arrange transportation with their Command sponsor or request a Command duty driver.
Directions to Indian Head, Maryland

For directions to NDW West Area, Indian Head, MD, follow the directions above from Reagan National Airport and when you reach Route 210 (Indian Head Highway), stay on Route 210 until it ends at the NDW Indian Head installation main gate.

Main Phone Numbers

A Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle launches from the Navy Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren test range. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy; photo by: John F. Williams

Base Operator DSN: 249-8531 (540) 653-8531

Base Housing - Dahlgren (800) 846-6827/(540) 663-2190 DSN: 249-2190

BEQ/BOQ (540) 653-7672 DSN: 249-7671

Branch Medical Clinic (540) 653-8241

Child Development Center (540) 653-4994

Dahlgren Base School (540) 653-8822/(540) 653-0197

Dahlgren Command 540 653-8216 DSN: 249-8203

Dental Clinic (540) 653-8564

Family Child Care - In Home Services (540) 653-4994

FFSC Exceptional Family Member (EFM) (540) 653-3631 Fax: (540) 653-4377

Housing Referral Office/Housing Privatization (540) 663-2190 DSN: 249-8505

McDaniel's Trailer Park (540) 663-2040

Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) (540) 653-7777

Temporary Lodging (540) 653-7671/ (540) 653-7672 DSN: 249-7671

TRICARE 1-877-TRICARE / (540) 653-8241

Youth Activities Center (540) 653-8009 DSN: 249-8009

Population/Major Units Assigned

Dahlgren Chemical Biological and Radiological Defense Division engineer Ron Roller conducts training. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

NSWCDD consists of two organizations: The NSWC Dahlgren Lab (NSWCDL) in Dahlgren, Virginia and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dam Neck (NSWCDN), in Virginia Beach, Virginia. NSWCDD employs approximately 2400 scientists & engineers at the Dalhgren organization.

The total base population for NSF Dahlgren includes approximately 370 DoD active-duty military personnel, approximately 450 military family members, over 4,100 DoD civilian employees, and over 4,200 defense contractor employees.

Temporary Lodging

Bachelor Quarters, winner Best Innkeeper Award three consecutive years. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

Temporary lodging is available through Navy Gateway Inns and Suites. Reservations are required and can be arranged by calling 540-653-7671 or DSN 312-249-7671. Temporary quarters are extremely limited but available. Additional information on base housing can be obtained by calling the Housing Welcome Center at 540-653-8505/8506.

Navy Gateway Inns & Suites is located in Building 960 for checking in and out. It operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For further information, contact the Front Desk at (540) 653-7671/7672.

There is no Navy Lodge at Dahlgren. Temporary lodging for military PCS families is available at the Caffee House. Priority for temporary lodging at the Caffee House is given to military families on permanent change of station orders.

The Caffee House has only four temporary lodging units available; therefore, it is important to call ahead for reservations. Length of stay is 30 days.

Cost runs approximately $20 a night for a unit that comes with bedrooms, kitchen, living room and washer and dryer. Each unit typically is comfortable for a family of five or six.

No pets and no smoking allowed in the Caffee House temporary lodging.


Field Grade Officer Housing. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Families desiring to be housed on base will be required to sign a lease with Lincoln Military Housing (PPV partner). This is a six-month lease, and renewed on a month-to-month basis after the initial lease period. Lincoln provides 24-hour maintenance, yard and lawn care, monthly community activities, and a professional staff to serve your needs while living at Dahlgren. They can be reached at (540) 663-2190.

Currently, there are 200 enlisted quarters, both town home and single-family quarters, and 50 officer housing quarters. Housing is centrally located on base and is within walking distance to most of the tenant commands and all base services and facilities.

Currently, 5% of the base townhouses are designed for disability accessibility and most of the older units can be modified for disability access.

There is no mobile home park located on the base.

There is a waiting list for government quarters. Waiting times fluctuate depending on the time of the year, and eligibility dates. Waiting lists are based on family size and rank. Contact the Dahlgren housing office for information on your wait status.

To apply for base housing at Dahlgren, submit a housing application (DD 1746) along with a copy of your orders and a certification of dependents (Page 2). Power of attorney is necessary for family member, if active duty member is unavailable.

Control date for placement on waiting list will be the date of detachment from the last permanent duty station, provided confirmation of the application is made within 30 days of reporting to Dahlgren. Otherwise, control date will be the date application is made in the Housing Office.

Applicants will be placed on waiting list based on grade and family composition.

Exceptional Family Members (EFM) designated as Category IV and V are given priority placement on waiting lists for assignment to housing.


Pre-K at the Dahlgren School Home of the Tigers!. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Dahlgren School, a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade DoD school, is located on the installation. Dependents of Armed Forces members and dependents of DoD Civilians residing on the Dahlgren installation are eligible to attend this school. There are no fees to attend for those students who meet these eligibility requirements.

Since its establishment in 1921, Dahlgren School has been recognized throughout the Navy for providing an outstanding education to students in pre-K through eighth grade. In addition to an extensive academic program, Dahlgren School offers classes in AVID, art, music, foreign language, physical education, health, and guidance. Support services are available in special education, gifted education, and counseling. The individual needs of students are well served by small pupil/teacher ratios. Facilities include a state-of-the-art media center, computer labs, an auditorium and a modern gymnasium complete with climbing wall.

Activities include garden club, newspaper club, basketball, track, pep squad, drama, music programs, art enrichment, mile club, student council, National Junior Honor Society, media center helper program, peer mediator program, knitting club, literary lunch, and Reading Counts. Students frequently sport t-shirts proclaiming, “Succeed...It’s what we do!” which is their translation of the school vision.

A child must be four years old by September 1 to enroll in pre-kindergarten, five years old by September 1 to enroll in kindergarten, and six years old by September 1 to enroll in first grade.

Developmental screening will be offered to at-risk three and four year olds. Children will be screened in fine and gross motor concepts, speech and language, hearing and vision, and behavior. If delays are apparent in the screening, more in-depth testing will be completed by the school system.

There are a number of excellent public schools in the local area for Kindergarten through Grade 12. Each of the systems are independent but cooperate with each other to serve their students. Each jurisdiction has its own appointed School board.

King George County has four public schools. There are two elementary schools (grades pre- kindergarten-five), one middle school (grades six-eight), and one high school (grades 9-12).

High School students residing on base are bused into King George County to attend King George High School approximately 12 miles away. King George High Schools offers a military NJROTC Program.

There is no Education Office located on base. The largest institution of higher education serving military and family members at Dahlgren is the University of Mary Washington and Rappahannock Community College.

Child Care

CDC/YAC Center Children. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

The NSA Dahlgren CDC is located in Building 212, Jenkins Road and can be reached at 540-653-4994. Before arrival in Dahlgren, you may call for information regarding the placement of your child on the waiting list for childcare. The center is open Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Children of Active Duty, Department of Defense Civilians and Dahlgren Base Contractors are eligible to use the CDC. Eligibility enrollment is open on a space available basis to military in the infant, toddler and preschool rooms. Civilians are eligible for enrollment on a space available basis in the preschool room.

Rates for childcare at the Child Development Center are based on total family income. Those will be determined when you come into the center to talk with the childcare specialists.

Family Child Care is available through the Child Development Center for infants 6 weeks to children five years of age.

Children in the Child Development Homes (CDH) Program are able to experience a warm, family environment in a provider's home. The flexibility of rates and hours of operation are tailored to the special needs of military families. All CDH providers meet Navy childcare licensure requirements. Rates for home childcare are based on several factors, one of which is the age of the child. The amount you will pay will be determined when you arrange for the care.

You can call the CDC to get a list of the available CDH providers.

Medical Care

Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Medical care services are available at the Dahlgren Branch Medical Treatment Facility (MTF). Specialties include Family Medicine, OB/GYN and Pediatrics.

Medical care services are offered on a priority basis. First priority of care is to active duty members. Second priority is to family members of active duty, with retired military and family members of retired military following in the eligibility chain.

Dental care services are available to active duty military only. Only emergency dental care is offered to other eligible individuals. When services are unavailable, those eligible for medical/dental care are referred to TRICARE.

Dahlgren, Virginia is a part of TRICARE North region. Health Net Federal Services, Inc. is the new regional contractor providing health care services and network-provider support in the TRICARE North region.

Mary Washington Hospital located in Fredericksburg, Virginia is the primary medical facility in the community.