Naval Support Activity South Potomac change of command

Capt. Todd P. Copeland (left) assumes command from Capt. Michael A. O’Leary as Rear Adm. Carl Lahti looks on.

Naval Support Activity South Potomac, the command responsible for managing installation operations at Naval Support Facilities Dahlgren, and Indian Head, Md., conducted a change of command ceremony July 10 that welcomed a new commanding officer and said goodbye to Capt. Michael O’Leary, who held command since July 2017. Capt. Todd Copeland, previously Chief of Congressional Affairs and Navy Element Commander for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, assumed command.

Rear Adm. Carl Lahti, Commandant of Naval District Washington, presided over the ceremony.

In all, NSASP serves 21 tenant commands with a wide range of services. Lahti credited O’Leary for his management of those services. “This [tenant commands’] success is in no small part due to his leadership. His tenure was marked by his ability to lead and to be prepared.”

Lahti also lauded O’Leary for his command’s Final Evaluation Problem performance, scoring third highest in all of Commander, Navy Installations Command. FEP is a triannual certification event assessing the command, control, communications and Navy Security Force on all U.S. Navy installations.

Finally, Lahti praised O’Leary’s successful community relations, strengthening existing community relationships and successfully sharing the mission of his bases with neighbors outside the fence line. He also praised O’Leary’s management of the revitalization of the NSF Dahlgren Community Recreation Center “on a shoestring budget.”

Lahti then presented O’Leary with the Legion of Merit Award for his “visionary leadership” that “enabled unparalleled levels of tenant support and engagement while successfully executing $125 million in construction, utilities recapitalization and environmental projects.” The award also recognized O’Leary’s leadership in executing $10 million in environmental cleanup efforts at NSF Indian Head, his support of more than 40 community events, and his work with Virginia Department of Transportation in developing traffic pattern changes to alleviate congestion for the growing work population at NSF Dahlgren.

After reading his orders, O’Leary yielded the podium to Copeland, who read his orders and was pinned with his command pin by his wife.

Copeland said he looks forward to applying his Congressional background to his new position and working with local communities that support the bases and their missions. “I look forward to continue to have great relationships with our neighbors.”

The ceremony was held before a limited crowd because of COVID-19 restrictions and was videotaped. To view the ceremony, visit

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