Center for Surface Combat Systems
Captain Frank X. Castellano
U. S. Navy
Commanding Officer
Center for Surface Combat Systems

Commanding Officer

Capt. Frank Castellano is a native of Bellport, New York. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1990, earning a Bachelor of Science in History. He attended the Naval Postgraduate School earning a Master of Science in Systems Technology (Joint Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence) and the U.S. Naval War College, earning a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies.

Castellano’s sea duty assignments include OI division officer, auxiliaries officer, and communications officer, USS Anzio (CG 68); operations officer, USS Cole (DDG 67); commanding officer, USS Chinook (PC 9); executive officer, USS Donald Cook (DDG 75); commanding officer, USS Bainbridge (DDG 96); executive officer, USS Vella Gulf (CG 72); commanding officer, USS Vella Gulf (CG 72); and most recently, commanding officer, USS Anzio (CG 68), returning to command the ship in which he is a plankowner.

During his seagoing career, he completed multiple deployments throughout the world from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans to the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Black Seas as well as combat operations in the Arabian Gulf and counter-narcotics operations off South America. While in command of Bainbridge, his ship and crew earned recognition worldwide for their critical role in the successful rescue of M/V Maersk Alabama and her master, Capt. Richard Phillips, from Somali pirates. While in command of Anzio, his ship and crew played a significant role in the successful rescue and repatriation of ten U.S. Navy Sailors and two Riverine Command Boats detained by Iranian military forces on Farsi Island. He was also fortunate to have been associated with outstanding Battle Efficiency winning crews while in command of both Vella Gulf and Anzio. In addition, Anzio was awarded the 2016 Atlantic Fleet Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy.

Ashore, he served as an associate fellow to the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group XVI; surface warfare lieutenant commander / commander assignments officer, Navy Personnel Command (PERS 41); and plans group chief, Joint Enabling Capabilities Command (JECC) Joint Planning Support Element (JPSE). He reported as commanding officer, Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) in December 2016.

Castellano’s personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), and various unit, campaign, and service awards.


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Robin K. Zapert
Executive Director
Center for Surface Combat Systems

Executive Director

Robin Zapert holds a Bachelor of Science in Microelectronic Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Virginia. She also earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business. In addition to her degrees, Zapert holds a Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) Level III certification in both Program Management (PM) and Systems Planning, Research, Development and Engineering (SPRDE) and is a graduate of the Key Leadership Development Program jointly sponsored by the Missile Defense Agency and Defense Acquisition University.

Zapert started her career in 2001 where she held several challenging engineering and management positions in the semiconductor industry. She resolved critical process integration issues and successfully led technical teams to implement process changes for defect reduction, improved device performance, and yield improvement. During this time, she also taught a course in business mathematics at Finger Lakes Community College.

In August 2010, Zapert became a civil servant for Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). Interested in the many facets of the NAVSEA organization, she worked in several program offices within Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) including PEO IWS 6.0 (Command and Control), PEO IWS 1.0 (Integrated Combat Systems), and PEO IWS 3.0 (Surface Ship Weapons) before transitioning as the On-Site Training Project Manager for Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA 21) Surface Training Systems (STS) Program Office (PMS 339) in 2012

As the On-Site Training Project Manager, she was responsible for interfacing with the training community at the waterfront in San Diego and Norfolk in addition to leading several projects including acquisition of the Combined Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Trainer (CIAT), acquisition of the AEGIS Ashore Team Trainer (AATT), and sunsetting of the Frigate specific Courses of Instruction (COIs). In 2014, Zapert transitioned back to IWS 1.0 and stood up the Technology Insertion (TI) branch.

From 2014 – 2017, as the TI Development Principal Assistant Program Manager (PAPM), Zapert was responsible for managing an annual Navy budget in excess of $150 million to support the acquisition and life cycle sustainment of combat system computing equipment for the surface Navy.

In January 2018, Zapert assumed her current assignment as the executive director for the Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS). As executive director, she oversees 14 learning sites and detachments located throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, Japan, and Rota, Spain.

Zapert’s personal awards include the Department of Navy FY 2012 Acquisition Excellence Award for her role in leading the technical evaluation team for the source selection of a critical Navy Combat System and AEGIS Excellence award for her leadership in identifying a solution for a critical diminishing supplies issue that will result in the development, delivery and sustainment of an operationally dominant combat system.


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Cmdr. Christopher S. Simmons
Executive Officer
Center for Surface Combat Systems

Executive Officer

Cmdr. Simmons, a native of Tyler, Texas, was commissioned in 1996 from the NROTC Program at Texas A&M University. He graduated from the University of Houston in 2003 with a Master of Science degree in Environmental Sciences and the Naval War College in 2012 with a Master of Arts in National Security.

After the completion of Surface Warfare Officer School, his initial sea assignment was aboard USS Spruance (DD 963) where he served in the engineering department as the auxiliaries officer and damage control assistant. During his tour, he completed a deployment to the Black Sea and Mediterranean Ocean, while participating in numerous joint exercises. Cmdr. Simmons was then assigned as navigator and main propulsion assistant aboard USS Gettysburg (CG 64). During his tour, he completed an Arabian Gulf and Mediterranean Ocean deployment, serving on the air warfare command ship for Operation Desert Fox and strike coordination platform for operations in Iraq and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Simmons completed department head school as the distinguished engineering graduate and was assigned as chief engineer aboard USS Ramage (DDG 61). He participated in the ship’s first Arabian Gulf deployment and conducted numerous multinational exercises. Finally, he was selected as executive officer for Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Crew Implicit where he completed a deployment in the Arabian Gulf and successfully performed a hull transfer for four different MCM’s. During his tour, the crew was awarded the CNO Surface Ship Safety Award for small combatants.

His initial shore assignment was officer in charge (OIC) of the Merchant Marine and NROTC programs at Texas A&M in Galveston, Texas. Other shore tours include deputy director for future operations in Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa; XO Special Mission as the OIC of High Speed Vessel (HSV) 2 Swift Blue crew; and executive officer for the AEGIS Training and Readiness Center. Simmons reported as executive officer of the Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) in December 2014.

Simmons’ personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (four awards), and numerous individual and unit awards.


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CMDCM (SW/IW) Thormod J. Forseth
Command Master Chief
Center for Surface Combat Systems

Command Master Chief

Command Master Chief Thormod Forseth is a native of Billings, Montana and graduated from Skyview High School. He enlisted in the Navy in December 1995 and attended Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois. He graduated from the Senior Enlisted Academy Class 126 in August 2006 and holds an associate degree in general education from Central Texas College.

After completing basic electronics training and Fire Control "A" and "C" schools, he reported to Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) in Avondale, Louisiana for his first sea-duty assignment. During this tour, he was selected and temporarily assigned as a member of the All-Navy Baseball team in 2001. He reported to PCU Green Bay (LPD 20) in Norfolk, Virginia in May 2005 but the delivery of the ship was delayed by Hurricane Katrina. He was retrained as an Aegis systems supervisor and a combat systems maintenance manager and was forward deployed to USS Chancelorsville (CG 62) based at Yokosuka, Japan. After completing a successful crew swap, he remained in Japan aboard USS Shiloh (CG 67). He also deployed on USS Stout (DDG 55) operating in U.S. 6th Fleet from March through May of 2011. In March 2012, he graduated from the Command Master Chief / Chief of the Boat (CMC / COB) Course Class 99 and immediately reported to USS Laboon (DDG 58) as the CMC.

His shore tours include service at Navy Recruiting Station Billings, Montana for the hometown recruiting program; Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia as the force fire controlman and force ballistic missile defense supervisor; and Navy Information Operations Command Colorado (NIOC-C) for his second CMC tour.

In April 2018, he reported as the CMC for Center for Surface Combat Systems.

Forseth earned his Enlisted Surface Warfare qualification in May 1998 aboard USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) and Enlisted Information Warfare qualification in June 2015 while stationed at NIOC-C. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (six awards), and various unit, campaign, and service awards.


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