Naval Surface Warfare Center Reviews | Glassdoor

Naval Surface Warfare Center Reviews

Updated May 19, 2017
18 reviews

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18 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Big Navy, big government equals red tape (in 8 reviews)

  • It seemed that most of the interesting engineering work were given to contractors while the government was just doing the high level project management (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Bureaucracy squared"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in Dahlgren, VA
    Current Employee - Engineer in Dahlgren, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    - Job security
    - Great benefits
    - Generous vacation
    - People are nice for the most part

    Cons

    - Crushing bureaucracy that makes it very difficult for scientists and engineers to do their work, much less innovate.
    - Extremely weak and non-technical management that is completely powerless to fight back against idiotic bureaucracy.
    - There are very few people who are motivated to keep up with advances in their fields. It is very difficult to get permission to attend professional conferences. And when you do have the ambition to learn something new, the crushing red tape will convince you it just isn't worth it, and you likely resign yourself to 9-5 collecting a paycheck and going with the status quo, like most people do.
    - If you are an extremely talented technical person that expects management to bring you problems the Navy needs solved, you'll be vastly undervalued and underutilized. Corporate management provides little to no leadership. Their idea of the ideal employee is one who combines technical, managerial and marketing expertise in one person. To advance, management expects you to go out and sell your services to external customers, and to bring in money. Getting funding is really all management cares about. A shy and retiring technical genius? Forget about this place and look elsewhere.

    Advice to Management

    NAVSEA simply isn't competent to run a science and engineering organization. Someone with some real technical expertise and clout is needed to protect the warfare centers from the high-level bureaucrats (perhaps use NRL as a model).
    The Working Capital Funding approach is a disaster for the warfare centers. The base of technical expertise is eroding rapidly. No one is looking after the corporate knowledge base, and everyone is focused on doing just enough to make a particular program work. Because that is all that is funded, not the mission of the warfare center (if anyone knows what that is).


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in Bethesda, MD
    Current Employee - Engineer in Bethesda, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Job stability, government holidays and discounts, generous leave.

    Cons

    Is a large bureaucracy, regulatory parts are detached and hostile at times, tail wags the dog, hard to get things done, hard to make purchases or do many things with money.

    Advice to Management

    Most management has no real power to make changes. Highest levels of management need to get away from yes-men and start deciding if they want productivity or orwellianism.


  3. "Mechanical Engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Some nice people, interesting work, stability in the fact that it's always well funded

    Cons

    Very hard to advance, resources are sometimes lacking for creativity because of typical red tape, very little guidance and stagnation is a real condition.


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  5. Helpful (4)

    "You'll hate going to work."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Panama City, FL
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Panama City, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Decent work life balance but there isn't anything to do in Panama City
    Benefits are nice

    Cons

    Work is extremely dissatisfying
    Pay is low
    Very disorganized but tries so hard to look like it is
    Takes forever to get anything done
    Engineers are glorified technicians
    Gov benefits are OVER-RATED


  6. "administrative"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Administrative in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Administrative in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time

    Pros

    All over the united states

    Cons

    Please stop turnover rate in office

    Advice to Management

    Promote Talent


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Computer Scientist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Dahlgren, VA
    Current Employee - Computer Scientist in Dahlgren, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Amazing pay and great benefits (health care - including vision and dental). Coworkers are all generally pleasant people with their technical capability and quality ranging from amazing to bad. Work atmosphere is laid back and only as stressful as you make it.

    Cons

    NSWC Dahlgren is a great place to work at as long as you do not care about 2 things. 1) Maintaining or improving your technical sharpness/capability. 2) Actually producing a good quality, working product. You should not expect any satisfaction from what you are working on. Bureaucracy, red tape, and "government process" remove most (if not all) innovation, efficiency, and quality. You should expect to use 10-20 year old software development practices and 7+ year old tools and technologies. Project management is unbelievably poor and there is very little responsibility and accountability. High grade promotions are equally part seniority, part who you know, and part qualifications/resume based.

    Advice to Management

    The current work situation is very inviting to employees who just want to show up to work for 8 hours a day and not actually do/produce anything. As a result both the quality of the workforce and moral is degrading at a very rapid rate. Set expectations and deadlines and hold employees accountable. Get project managers with better technical leadership that can make good decisions to promote quality products.


  8. "Stagnant bureaucracy"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Student Trainee in West Bethesda, MD
    Former Intern - Student Trainee in West Bethesda, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Naval Surface Warfare Center as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Solid pay
    -Generous leave and benefits
    -Good people (generally)
    -Flexible hours

    Cons

    -Virtually no accountability
    -Most of "work" day consists of complaining about how other people aren't doing their job
    -Outdated office technology and proceidures
    -Nothing gets done in a timely manner
    -Little recognition for hard work

    Advice to Management

    Give supervisors the ability to fire employees for under-performance, cut red tape, and push for a culture of excellence rather than one of mediocrity.


  9. "Good but it could be better"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Dahlgren, VA
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Dahlgren, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits, work/life balance. The commute is easy.

    Cons

    Underpaid for amount of work/responsibilities. Too much bureaucracy. Limited promotional potential. Big old boy culture/mentality.

    Advice to Management

    Start promoting energetic employees with the experience/desire to fulfill high value positions.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Not a place for career development nor direction from management!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Engineer in Indian Head, MD
    Former Employee - Engineer in Indian Head, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -The pay and benefits are OK.
    -Long nigths and weekend work was not mandated for support/indirect employees.
    -If you can dismiss the busy work you will have free time to do some self-learning.
    -General training offered through Defense Acquisition University and opportunities for further academic development (Corporate Development Education Program and certain Masters Degrees)

    Cons

    -There is very little job specific training to become more proficient in the work you are employed in.
    -Co-workers will discredit your work accomplishments or cast doubt on your character to prevent you from receiving praises.
    -Management pays most of their attention to trouble-maker employees.
    -Technology (computers, information systems, databases) is avoided and not used in a way to facilitate the workforce.
    -Management will not give you feedback as to how you can improve in your current assignment.
    -Management is content with employees doing what they did last year; very little progress and communication on what needs to be done to be better for the future.
    -The work load is decreasing and is sporadic.
    -The work and office facilities are so dilapidated they communicate in a non-verbal way that employees and the work they do is only worthy of an unsightly building.

    Advice to Management

    Management needs to realize that the work environment at NSWC Indian Head is stifling the existing, potential and new talent. Employees from multiple levels of experience and demographic backgrounds are frustrated which leads to two things; resignation or complacency.

    The chain-of-command is so focused on getting work done (sometimes busy work) that development and utilization of employees is overlooked, opportunities for improvement are dismissed, and a sub-culture now exists where employees create empires to raise themselves by casting doubt on another employee.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Very mixed bag"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Engineer in Bethesda, MD
    Current Employee - Research Engineer in Bethesda, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Some extremely talented and knowledgeable long-timers, interesting technical problems, and feeling of helping the active-duty military. A big plus is that work-life balance is excellent, flex-time and teleworking is encouraged.

    Cons

    Surreal amounts of bureaucracy, complete lack of leadership vision, opaque and overly political promotions and advancement, under-valuing of technical staff as compared to "programmatic" paper-pushers. DoD restrictions on travel, conferences, IT, etc have hit this place hard.

    Advice to Management

    Not much, since authority is so widely delegated that nobody as enough power to actually fix the problems that exist. Most importantly, value the customers (ie Navy programs) more than the haphazard drop-down nature of control from NAVSEA.


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