Naval Support Activity, Panama City had its origin in the mine countermeasures research conducted during World War II at the U.S. Naval Mine Warfare Test Station, Solomons, Maryland. In 1945, equipment, facilities, and personnel were transferred from Solomons to Panama City, Florida, to occupy a 373-acre tract along St. Andrew Bay. This same tract was used as a naval base in 1942, and in 1944 the Navy used the property as an amphibious training base. On July 20, 1945, the Navy Mine Countermeasures Station was established.
From July 1945 to January 1992, the base has undergone a myriad of name changes to include U.S. Navy Mine Defense Laboratory, Naval Ship Research and Development Laboratory Panama City, Naval Coastal Systems Laboratory and Naval Coastal Systems Center.
In January 1992, NCSC was re-designated the Coastal Systems Station (CSS), Dahlgren Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, reporting to the Naval Sea Systems Command.
On October 1, 2003, CSS was reorganized as a part of the alignment under Commander, Navy Installations Command. During this reorganization, the base was renamed Naval Support Activity Panama City, reporting to the Commander, Navy Region Southeast. The primary mission still remains rooted in its origins of research and development; testing and evaluation; and Navy diving.
The naval activity hosts many diverse tenant commands and other activities: Naval Surface Warfare Center - Panama City Division; Center for Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Diving; Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit SIX; Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center; Navy Experimental Diving Unit; Navy Munitions Command Detachment; Naval Branch Health Clinic; Naval Criminal Investigative Service; Navy Exchange; Veterans Administration Primary Care Clinic; U.S. Coast Guard Station Panama and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
As the mission has grown so has the size of the installation; 657 acres in all. The unique conditions of the Gulf of Mexico, coupled with mission synergy make Panama City an ideal location for fleet training and littoral warfare missions. NSA Panama City employs approximately 4,000 civilian and military personnel with an annual payroll of more than $466 million. Additionally, the base contracts for local goods and services, which amounts to more than $600 million annually in economic impact. Throughout its existence, NSA Panama City and its tenants have continued to evolve to meet the demanding requirements of the U.S. Navy - to defend today and to plan for tomorrow in response to national needs.