Capt. Chad Hennings addresses employees as the new commanding officer of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport during a change of command ceremony held on May 15 in Newport, Rhode Island. In a ceremony that was altered to adhere to social distancing restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hennings assumed command from Capt. Mike Coughlin.

Story by Public Affairs Office, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport

Capt. Chad F. Hennings relieved Capt. Michael R. Coughlin as commanding officer of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport during a change of command ceremony on Friday, May 15.

A naval submariner, Hennings is a 1994 graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering. He also holds a master’s degree in modeling, virtual environments and simulation from the Naval Postgraduate School and a master’s degree in national policy and strategic studies from the Naval War College.

Hennings has served aboard a variety of submarines and commanded two ballistic missile submarines, the USS Nevada (SSBN 733) and the USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735). His shore assignments have included staff positions at Submarine Squadron Two, Submarine Squadron Seventeen, Submarine Squadron Nineteen, and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

Since entering the Navy’s Acquisition Corps, Hennings has served in a range of program management assignments including major program management responsibility for undersea defensive weapons systems.

During Coughlin’s tenure at Division Newport, he oversaw numerous initiatives devoted to the advancement of technology to benefit the Navy’s warfighters. In order to maximize Fleet support, Coughlin prioritized regular interaction and knowledge exchanges with Division Newport’s 3,000+ engineers, scientists, and business professionals. In the last year under Coughlin’s command, Division Newport executed more than $1.2 billion in funding with $751 million going to the local economy for payroll, contracts, construction, and services. Since Coughlin took command in 2017, Division Newport hired more than 1,000 new employees. Throughout 2019, as Division Newport marked its 150th anniversary, Coughlin underscored the significance of the command’s contributions to “Undersea Superiority: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”

Following the change of command, Coughlin retired from the Navy after 30 years of service.

NUWC Division Newport is a shore command of the U.S. Navy within the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, builds and supports America’s fleet of ships and combat systems. NUWC Newport provides research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures associated with undersea warfare.

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Michael Coughlin, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher’s Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.