The Honorable Kenneth J. Braithwaite of Pennsylvania served as the 77th Secretary of the Navy from 2020 to 2021.
He was the first Navy flag officer (admiral) to become a Senate confirmed Secretary of the Navy. Previously he served as U.S. Ambassador tothe Kingdom of Norway. Braithwaite was born in Livonia, Michigan and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984.
Earning his Wings of Gold as a Naval Aviator, he flew P–3 Orions tracking adversary submarines. Redesignated a public affairs officer, he served aboard USS America and with Carrier Group 2 as well as Striking Force 6th Fleet.
After serving as Chief of Public Affairs at the Philadelphia Naval Base, Braithwaite joined the Naval Reserve in 1993. In 1995 he earned a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Continuing his Navy service, he commanded Navy Combat Camera Atlantic where he deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Later he became the first commander of Joint Public Affairs Support Element Reserve–Joint Forces Command where he deployed for disaster relief in Pakistan.
He was selected for promotion to Rear Admiral in 2007, and served as the first Vice Chief of Information until retiring from the Navy in 2011.
In the private sector he held executive roles in the health care and petroleum industries. While serving as Secretary of the Navy, Braithwaite orchestrated the first ever TriService Maritime Strategy aligning the Navy, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard withthe National Defense Strategy. Moreover he led the Department through COVID-19 maintaining readiness while protecting personnel.
He also stressed the importance of culture, strengthening the Navy’s ties to its history by supporting a new National Museum of the United States Navy, and naming the new Constellation–class frigates after the U.S. Navy’s first frigates.