Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields:
Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego - Old Town Campus
(Air Force Plant 19)

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command is headquartered in really old buildings with the sawtooth roofs known as Air Force Plant 19 near Old Town and the airport. These are the same buildings where Convair used to routinely push B-24 bombers out the door to help win World War II.
The Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) officially complete its move and transition from the Washington, DC area and opened its San Diego headquarters in a special Transition Ceremony on 01 October 1997. The ceremony was held in front of the newly renovated SPAWAR headquarters building (Building #4) in Old Town, located at 4301 Pacific Highway (formerly the old Air Force Plant 19 complex).
The The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center was formerly known as the Naval Command, Control and Ocean Surveillance Center (NCCOSC) RDT&E Division (or NRaD). It is a full-spectrum RDT&E laboratory serving the Navy, Marine Corps, and other Department of Defense and national sponsors within its mission, leadership assignments, and prescribed functions. It has facilities for conducting RDT&E and life-cycle support functions in C4ISR. These laboratories offer worldwide networking capabilities plus the ability to participate in major joint exercises. In San Diego, the center occupies more than 580 acres. Facilities are concentrated in four major areas: Topside, Bayside, Seaside, and Old Town. Extensive in-service engineering facilities, located nearby on the Old Town Campus, provide a full range of systems engineering, management, logistics, installation, and technical support.
The relocation of SPAWAR’s headquarters from Crystal City, in the Washington, DC area, to San Diego came about as a result of a 1995 Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) decision. The move of the SPAWAR headquarters staff and an associated program executive office staff, which began in April of 1996, resulted in the establishment of more than 1,000 new jobs in San Diego.
SPAWAR directs the development, acquisition, and life cycle management of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence; surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems for Navy, Marine Corps, selected joint service, allied nation and other government agency programs. The SPAWAR "corporation," which consists of the headquarters staff, a program executive office and three major Systems Centers in San Diego; Charleston, South Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia, includes more than 5,000 engineers and scientists, computer specialists, contract professionals, project managers, equipment installers, technicians and administrative support personnel.
Air Force Plant 19 is northeast of San Diego, CA. It covers 2,850 acres (the government owns only 2%) and 6.3 million square feet of floor space (the government owns 25%).
Operated by General Dynamics, the plant had a high bay area for aircraft assembly and specially configured areas for Atlas/Centaur tank assembly. Construction of AFP 19 began November 1940, and the plant opened in 1941. It was built as an assembly plant for the B-24 Liberator bomber, to augment primary design and assembly at the Lindbergh Field Plant. Employment at the plant peaked at 45,000 in 1942. At the end of World War II the plant was sold as surplus. In 1957 the government reacquired the plant and constructed four support buildings for Atlas missile manufacturing and assembly. It also supported Atlas/Centaur and Shuttle/Centaur tanks and Atlas refurbishment.
During the 1980s the plant performed fabrication, minor assembly, and subassembly work for the Ground Launched Tomahawk Cruise Missile, Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL), and Launcher Control Center. On July 1, 1988, 50 inspectors from the Soviet Union arrived at Travis Air Force Base, California, to conduct inspections at: the former GLCM production facility at Air Force Plant 19 in San Diego, California; the GLCM training site at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; the GLCM training site at Fort Huachuca, Arizona; the Missile Storage Depot at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, and the Pueblo Army Depot in Colorado.
The Naval Electronics Systems Engineering Command (NAVELEX) was located at the US Air Force Plant Pacific Highway, San Diego [Plant 19], operated by General Dynamics Corporation. On November 14 and 15, 1985, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inspected NAVELEX Air Force Plant 19. EPA found that seven in-service transformers situated in Building 1 were leaking and that floor areas were contaminated with PCBs. Violations of the regulations were found by EPA at Air Force Plant 19, including leakage from, and contamination by, in-service electrical transformers.
The Naval Electronics Systems Engineering Center Vallejo, CA was consolidated with the Naval Electronics Systems Engineering Center San Diego, CA, into available space in Air Force Plant #19, San Diego, vice new construction.
The Naval Command, Control and Ocean Surveillance Center (NCCOSC) RDT&E Division (or NRaD) is a full-spectrum RDT&E laboratory. NCCOSC's West Coast In-Service Engineering Division (NISE West) was located a Air Force Plant 19. On 2 January 1992, the Navy established the Naval Command, Control and Ocean Surveillance Center (NCCOSC) as one of four major warfare centers. NRaD was the RDT&E Division of the NCCOSC command. Early in 1996, NCCOSC's West Coast In-Service Engineering Division (NISE West) merged with NRaD, adding direct fleet support and in-service engineering to the full-spectrum of capabilities offered customers. NRaD is scheduled to become the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Systems Center San Diego on 1 October 1997.
In 1996 the plant was transferred to the Navy, where it continued production under the Command, Control, and Ocean Surveillance Center.
Copied with permission from globalsecurity.com
Corps of Engineers History
Review of San Diego County assessor's records on June 7, 1993 revealed that 75.444 acres at the Air Force Plant #19 site are currently under Department of Navy control and 2.77 acres have been sub-divided with several private owners.
Mr. Phelps of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command confirmed that 75.444 acres are under current Department of the Navy control and 2.77 acres are privately owned. Based on information obtained from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command site file, the history of the subject property is as follows. In 1933, Consolidated Aircraft signed a long term lease with the city of San Diego for use of a portion of Lindbergh Field. In October 1935, Reuben H. Fleet dedicated a manufacturing plant on the west side of Pacific Highway that housed Fleet's Consolidated Aircraft Corporation which relocated from Buffalo, New York. Sometime later the subject property (Air Force Plant #19) located on the east side of Pacific Highway was acquired by the Air Force. U.S. Government acquired fee title to property and the Air Force Plant #19 was constructed in 1940-1941 to build various types of aircraft in support of B-24 Wing production. In 1943, Consolidated Aircraft merged with Vultee Aircraft and became Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation (Convair).
After WWII, in 1947, Air Force Plant #19 was sold to Mr. C.W. Carlstrom by the War Assets Administration. The property was utilized as an industrial complex during this period of time. The facilities were conveyed to General Dynamics Corporation and leased to the government. The plant was used throughout the Korean war under contract to the Air Force for aircraft production. An aerial photograph of the plant taken in 1952 showed the current pedestrian bridge. In 1953, the Air Force condemned the property. The plant was thus reacquired by the Air Force and operated by General Dynamics for aircraft production. The plant was under fee ownership of the United States of America and under direct control of the Department of Defense, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The plant was transferred to the Department of the Navy in late 1992 and is currently operated by General Dynamics for the Naval Command, Control, and Ocean Surveillance Center.

The disposal property consisting of 2.77 acres is a tract of land located between Rosecrans Street/Riley Street and Moore Street/Interstate 5. This area is no longer under Department of Defense control and has been beneficially developed commercially since government disposal. All buildings and improvements are being beneficially used by the current owners.
Source: Los Angeles District, Corps of Engineers
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Updated 23 June 2017