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A new acronym is coming to Charles County when the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division merge.

The combined activities will be known as the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, or NSWC IHEODTECHDIV.

The merged divisions will be under the command of Capt. Tom Smith, formerly the commanding officer of the Explosive Division at Indian Head, who has acted as commanding officer of the NSWC Indian Head Division since October.

Smith also has served as commanding officer of the EOD Tech Division since September 2010.

“The work we do for the warfighter will remain the same,” Smith said. “The biggest support for the warfighter will be the [merger].”

NSWC Indian Head’s Technical Director Dennis McLaughlin will maintain his position in the combined command.

“It gives us an opportunity to improve our overall operations,” said McLaughlin, who has been technical director for two years.

He said merging the two bases will leverage their technical capabilities.

“I think it provides us an opportunity to be more effective in what we do every day,” McLaughlin said. He added that the job of both bases is to support the sailors, soldiers and Marines who rely on their equipment and technology every day.

Staff cuts at either base are not anticipated and are not part of the plan, McLaughlin said.

NSWC IHEODTECHDIV will employ about 1,700 military and civilian employees when the merger is officially completed Oct. 1.

McLaughlin said that the bases merging has nothing to do with the continuing resolution that Congress passed in place of a new federal budget, or with the government’s sequestration. The merge is strictly strategic, and both bases are doing quite well financially, he said.

NSWC Indian Head has been under a hiring freeze, according to McLaughlin, as a result of Navy orders.

The new command will continue to provide research, development, engineering, manufacturing, test, evaluation and in-service support of energetics and energetic materials for ordnance, propulsion systems and other devices for warfighters. It also will develop and deliver explosive ordnance disposal technology, tools and equipment to the Department of Defense and foreign and interagency partners.

The merged commands will be based at the two existing sites in Charles County, about 12 miles apart from each other.

rbarnabi@somdnews.com