Having worked around explosives and ordnance most of her Navy civilian career, Laura DeSimone is naturally acute to safety issues so it is just as natural that she would be a glove-tight fit as the new Executive Director for the Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity at Naval Support Facility Indian Head.
DeSimone was selected to head NOSSA this autumn but prior to gaining the Senior Executive Service post, she logged an 18-year stint with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division's Engagement Systems (G) Dept. designing and testing Navy weapons and ordnance systems.
Such work included honing the former 16-inch battleship gun in a product improvement program and working on the Navy's Extended Range Guided Munitions program, designed to enhance the ranges of the MK-45 MOD-4 5-inch,62 gun system to 63 nautical miles.
Along the way, DeSimone was honored with numerous awards and accolades for her duties, most recently the Navy Superior Civilian Service medal for her work as the Deputy Department Head of G Dept., when she was specifically singled out for outstanding technical leadership in establishing a NSWC Dahlgren Detachment at the Army's Picatinny Arsenal.
Described as a ball of energy by those who knew her
brings the same kind drive to the Navy's chief explosives safety agency.
,,Our mission at NOSSA
is to provide and ensure safe and secure ordnance for the naval enterprise," she
says succinctly, ,,that means Navy-wide for both ships and all shore facilities."
,,Typically we will conduct about 70 to 80 inspections every two years ," DeSimone
"Every Navy activity with weaponry will go through an explosive safety inspection every other year so it keeps NOSSA busy ensuring that our warfighters have the confidence that all approved ordnance and weapon systems will function correctly and safely throughout their lifecycle."
also said that her
activity is ,,heavily involved" across joint service lines to huddle on the safety and security of ordnance used by the Air Force, Army as well as the Marine Corps and Navy.
Still, Navy unique weaponry occupy the majority of the technical expertise for ammunition, explosives, weapons, ordnance and environment, insensitive munitions, ordnance quality and physical security.
,,The shipboard environment is so different than having weapons stored on land facilities," she
explained. ,,Ships must be extra safe for ordnance storage and handling because Sailors live, sleep, and work in close proximity to these systems when deployed ... where as land sites naturally afford better conditions."
As NOSSA's executive director, DeSimone is delegated by NAVSEA as the Technical Warrant Holder for all Navy weapon systems safety and security and is the principal authority on all matters related to naval ordnance transportation, safety and security worldwide.
A native of suburban Philadelphia, DeSimone is a graduate of Ursinus College (Collegeville, Pa.) where she majored in physics and stared on the college softball team as a 3rd baseman.
She earned her masters (mechanical engineering) from Pennsylvania State University and first entered government service in 1990.
An avid water sports enthusiast, DeSimone
can often be found jet skiing in the summer during her
leisure times in her
Orange County, Va., home site.