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When the Naval Safety Center was established in 1951 at the Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia, it was called the U.S. Naval Aviation Safety Activity. The staff collected, evaluated and published information about aviation safety. The staff also advised the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps on all phases of the aviation-safety effort.


The Safety Activity grew into the U.S. Naval Aviation Safety Center; the officer-in-charge of the Activity was replaced with a director. In 1957, the director’s billet was filled, for the first time, with a flag officer. In 1958, the director’s title became Commander. The command’s mission was expanded into several new areas. The staff initiated and conducted aviation mishap investigations and surveys, and helped formulate policies aimed at maintaining higher levels of combat readiness.


In May 1968, the Naval Aviation Safety Center and the Submarine Safety Center, located in New London, Connecticut, merged to become the Naval Safety Center (NSC). Programs involving surface ships and shore activities were added to form the nucleus for all safety programs within the Navy. In 1986, system safety was added as a program, and the position of a Marine Corps deputy commander was established to administer and represent Marine Corps safety issues. In May 1989, training safety became the command’s newest program, addressing problems involving shore-based basic training. While Marines have always been a part of the



aviation process, in October 1993, a Marine Corps ground safety detachment was assigned to the Naval Safety Center. Subsequently, a reserve unit was stood up in 1996, consisting of 30 members.


Command mission is to provide safety advice and assistance to SECNAV and to manage the Navy’s safety and occupational health program on behalf of the CNO. The Commander, a Rear Admiral, also serves as Special Assistant for Safety Matters to Chief of Naval Operations. The command assists the Marine Corps by managing the Marine Corps portion of the naval aviation safety program, and other safety programs as required. NAVSAFECEN provides support and oversight to the naval safety program through safety and risk management policy and guidance, safety data services, safety program services, safety communications, and safety education and training. Data sources are worldwide and information is provided to all levels of the Navy, Marine Corps, and other federal agencies, contractors and foreign governments.


Today, the Naval Safety Center is organized into six directorates: Aviation, Afloat, Knowledge Management and Safety Promotions, Shore, Operational Risk Management/Expeditionary Warfare and Investigations. Four departments and one special staff division provide support to the core operations of the command. The Naval School of Aviation Safety in Pensacola, Florida, is also a NAVSAFECEN detachment consisting of civilian and military staff, which includes Marine Corps personnel. As an Echelon II command, NAVSAFECEN provides oversight of its single Echelon III command, the Naval Safety and Environmental Training Center in Norfolk, Virginia.