Vice Adm. George Peter Nanos Jr. presided over the ceremony, which was also attended by the mayor of the District of Columbia, Anthony A. Williams, and other distinguished guests.
In 1995, Congress approved spending $200 million to convert historic buildings at the Washington Navy Yard into a modern office center. The major beneficiary of this effort is NAVSEA, largest of the Navy's five systems commands.
"Building 197 -- NAVSEA Center -- is a most appropriate symbol for NAVSEA," said Nanos. "Constructed using elements and structures of the old gun factory, it also possesses the best of modern design. It reminds us of times past with cranes used to handle gun-making chores, and green colored glass that tints the images of previous days of glory. It is a reminder of our past and serves as a bit of heritage preserved for tomorrow."
NAVSEA employs about 46,000 people, of which approximately 4,100 will be moved to the new headquarters in Washington. NAVSEA's budget of nearly $20 billion represents about one fifth of the Navy's total budget. NAVSEA manages more than 130 acquisition programs, which are assigned to six affiliated Program Executive Officers (PEOs) and various headquarters elements.
Washington Navy Yard is the first and oldest naval shore facility. In the early years of the nation, the Navy Yard was the nation's largest shipbuilding facility.
Later, its mission shifted largely to ordnance, and during World War I the facility operated around the clock.
Three of the four buildings of the new NAVSEA campus were part of the Naval Gun Factory. The largest of these, Building 197, site of the ribbon cutting dedication, was used to assemble all of the 16-inch guns used on World War II battleships. This building and its new addition will provide 680,000 square feet of space.
The new buildings will include state-of-the-art meeting, conference and communications facilities.
Washington Navy Yard is also home to the official history program of the Navy, which includes the Navy Museum, Navy Art Collection, Navy Department Library and ArchivesMarine Corps Historical Center and the ex-USS Barry (DD 933), a display ship open to the public.
Among the historical events that occurred at the yardwere many visits by President Lincoln during the Civil War, the imprisonment of his assassins, the arrival of the first ambassador from Japan and Charles Lindbergh's debarkation after his 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic.
NAVSEA's headquarters is currently located in several leased buildings at the Crystal City complex in Arlington, Va. About 200 employees per week will transfer to the Navy Yard, effective immediately. The move will be completed in July.