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Naval Support Activity Bethesda

Naval Support Activity Bethesda, Home of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is the cornerstone of medicine for the military, an essential training facility for the Department of Defense and Public Health Service.

Located between Bethesda, Maryland, and Washington D.C., the site serves as a hub for quintessential military activity in the oldest established naval region in the U.S. Service members in the community live in Montgomery County, with a population of over one million, branching out to Bethesda, with a population of almost 70,000.

Its proximity to the Capitol brings special missions and elite training, as well as top-tier staff and visitors to the area. Find need-to-know info for Naval Support Activity Bethesda, including contacts, units, schools, housing, transportation, child care, and colleges.

Naval Support Activity Bethesda History

This facility used to be two; the National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center were merged in 2005, after Congress ordered a restructuring. The two facilities were close together, therefore it was more efficient to share resources, facilities, and skill sets of staff and save money at the same time. The Command was Navy-led, utilizing management to seamlessly transition to the newly organized Home of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The site completed its transition on August 27, 2011. Walter Reed National Military Medical Center had fulfilled 100 years of service before its closing, and now brings this expertise and experience to the new facility.

Naval Support Activity Bethesda Surrounding Area

If you are stationed at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, you will be rich in recreational options. Nearby the capital, Washington D.C., the list of possibilities for exploration is long.

From touring the Capitol itself to visiting the Washington Monument, The National Mall, The Lincoln Memorial, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Gallery of Art, the capital city has endless parks and museums, many of which are free to visit. Museums in the area include but are not limited to:

  • Smithsonian National Museum
  • International Spy Museum
  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • Hirshhorn Museum
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • National Building Museum
  • Postal Museum

Options to browse the plethora of sites include trolley tours, bus tours, walking tours and guided tours. Foods, culture and history from all over the world has a place in Washington D.C.

Mission and Units

Naval Support Activity Bethesda is a premier military facility for health, research and education to build teams to support and develop future professionals and enhance warfighter readiness. Major units working at the facility include:

  • Army Troop Command
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Naval Criminal Investigation Services (NCIS)
  • Naval Dosimetry Center (NDC)
  • Navy Bloodborne Infection Management Center (NBIMC)
  • Navy Medical Leader & Professional Development Command (NML&PDC)
  • Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMR&TC), Bethesda
  • Soldier Recovery Brigade – National Capital Region
  • Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)
  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC)

In-Processing and Check-In

All incoming service members should report to the Military Personnel Detachment in Tranquility Hall with stamped orders, service records, travel receipts, endorsements, and identification in hand. You will not be eligible for compensation for up to 10 days without travel receipts.

New arrivals will need to meet with their sponsors, who will address the specific needs of incoming service members. Make sure to contact your sponsor before arrival to make the necessary arrangements.

Navy service members should report to the Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command in Bethesda at the Quarterdeck according to assigned check-in time. For questions, contact the Command Duty Officer at (301) 547-1161.  The Quarterdeck can be reached at (301) 400-2859.

Soldier Recovery Unit Cadre and employees should get directions from the Staff Duty Desk in Building 62 or call ahead at (301) 400-1096.

Child Care at Naval Support Activity Bethesda

Full and part-time childcare options are offered through Naval Support Activity Bethesda’s Child Development Centers. Child care is available for children from six weeks old to five years old. Costs are based on family income, not including a non-refundable registration fee (the amount will be applied to the first payment for care.)

Parents must provide proof of children’s immunizations. The Child Development Center can be reached at (301) 295-0014. Care is available at NSAB Austin’s Playroom on Constitution Drive on weekdays during regular business hours. NSAB Austin’s Playroom can be reached at (301) 400-0118.

Childtime of Bethesda

4550 Montgomery Ave. #250N Bethesda, MD 20814
(877) 220-0584

Bilingual Tots Daycare Bethesda

5200 Camberley Ave. Bethesda, MD 20814
(240) 467-8381


Service members have many choices for areas to live in, including Bethesda, Maryland; the Washington D.C. area; and Alexandria, Virginia. On-base residential communities are in the Naval District Washington area.

Rural home seekers can find many floorplan options, from studio apartments to single-family homes to rent, furnished or unfurnished, closer to Washington, D.C. For those who prefer a more rural setting, Maryland has more options.

For listings, help with applications, and community information, contact the Housing Referral Office at (301) 295-6564. The Housing Office is in Building 17B, Suite D on site.

Related: Basic Allowance for Housing Calculator


Quick Mart
8710 Gunnel Rd, Bldg 31
Bethesda, MD 20889
(240) 858-6192

The Commissary for Naval Support Activity Bethesda stocks standard supplies for service members and their families to facilitate base life. Special request orders can be placed in advance for platters, deli, and bakery orders by contacting the commissary directly.

PCS and TDY Lodging

For those in need of temporary lodging, most will find a place at Navy Lodge Bethesda. Service members of all branches and civilians can stay at this location, which has ample rooms and standard amenities. Navy Lodge Bethesda is located at 8901 Wisconsin Avenue, Building 52 in Bethesda. To make reservations or inquire about vacancies and pricing, call (301) 654-1795.


Due to the location of the base, there are several options for arrival. The nearest airports are Dulles International Airport, Baltimore-Washington Airport and Reagan National Airport. Dulles International Airport is the nearest to the base.

If driving in from Dulles, take I-495 north to Maryland, toward Bethesda. Use exit 34, Route 355 South, and follow signs to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

From Reagan National Airport, take George Washington Parkway to I-495, Capital Beltway going north toward Maryland. Use exit 34, Route 355 South, following signs to the gate to the base. You can also use the metro/subway directly from the airport to the Medical Center Metro Station. On the metro, use the yellow line toward Mt. Vernon Square exiting Gallery Place. Use the red line to Grosvenor and exit Medical Center Metro.

From the Baltimore-Washington Airport, go south to I-495, toward the beltway, and use exit 34, Route 355 South, following signs to the base.

Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License

Vehicle registration requirements will depend on where the service member chooses to live, due to the location of the base. Some service members will choose to live in Maryland, others in Virginia and others in the Washington D.C. area.

For those living in the Washington D.C. area, a DC driver’s license and registration will be required after residing in the area for 60 days. Maryland drivers will have a 30-day window in which to update their license and registration.

On base, all vehicles are subject to search and will require drivers to present identification. Updated insurance, driver’s license, and vehicle registration will be needed with proof when requested.

Traffic laws must be respected on base, including wearing a seatbelt when vehicles are in motion, with small children in safety seats in the back. Hands-free devices are recommended when driving. Motorcycle drivers are required to use protective gear, including helmets.


Bethesda, Maryland has a plethora of public school options for young learners of military service members. Schools in the area include but are not limited to:

Colleges and Universities

The Installation Education Center offers service members the opportunity to continue their education at all levels, from completing high school and GED classes to college prep courses.

The Installation Education Center is open at 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. The center closes at 5 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday and at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. On Friday, the center closes at 1:30 p.m. It is located in Building 17A, Suite 1022, and can be reached by phone at (301) 654-7755.

College-level courses are offered here through the University of Maryland Global Campus. Other online options may apply. For other options on career development, reach out to the Installation Education Center.

Related: Ultimate GI Bill Guide


Naval Support Activity Bethesda, Home of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
102 Wood Rd
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 295-4607

  • Barracks/Single Service Member Housing (301) 295-5855
  • Child Development Center (301) 295-0014
  • Commissary (240) 858-6192
  • Housing Office/Government Housing (301) 295-6564
  • ID/CAC New Card Processing (301) 295-0103
  • School Liaison Program (301) 319-4087
  • Temporary Lodging/Billeting (301) 654-1795

Related: Ultimate Military Benefits Guide


About the author

Editor-in-Chief | + posts

Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.