Admiral Gary Roughead
US Navy, Retired
Admiral Gary Roughead retired from his position as the 29th chief of naval operations in September 2011, after serving in that position for four years. The chief of naval operations is the senior military position in the US Navy. As chief of naval operations, Admiral Roughead successfully guided the Navy through a challenging period of transition in fiscal, security, and personnel matters. He stabilized and accelerated ship and aircraft procurement plans, accelerated the Navy’s capability and capacity in ballistic missile defense and unmanned air and underwater systems, and directed the service’s investigation of climate change and alternative energy. He reestablished the 4th and 10th Fleets to better focus on the Western Hemisphere and cyber operations, respectively. Roughead introduced bold programs to prepare for the primacy of information in warfare, and was at the forefront in using social media within the Navy. He also led the Navy through changes in law and personnel policy to draw more inclusively than ever before upon the Navy’s greatest strength, its sailors.
Prior to becoming the chief of naval operations, he held six operational commands. He is one of only two officers in the history of the Navy to have commanded both the US Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. He served as the commandant, US Naval Academy, where he led the strategic planning effort that underpinned that institution’s first capital campaign. He was the Navy’s chief of legislative affairs, responsible for the Department of the Navy’s interaction with Congress. Roughead was also the deputy commander, US Pacific Command, during the massive relief effort following the tsunami of 2004.
Roughead is the recipient of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and various unit and service awards. He has also received awards from several foreign governments. He is a 1973 graduate of the US Naval Academy.
In retirement, Roughead is the Robert and Marion Oster Distinguished Military Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and serves on the boards of directors of the Northrop Grumman Corporation and the Center for a New American Security. He is a trustee of Dodge and Cox Funds and serves on the board of managers of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He advises several companies in the national security and medical sectors and is the co-chair, with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts, of the North American Forum. He joined Spirit of America’s Board of Advisors in 2020.