Kenneth Braithwaite, Secretary of the Navy

Kenneth Braithwaite

Secretary of the Navy

Kenneth John Braithwaite II was born in 1960 in Livonia, Michigan. He earned an undergraduate degree in naval engineering and political science from the United States Naval Academy. He later earned a master’s degree in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania Fels Institute of Government. He has had considerable other education through the military.

After graduating from the Academy, he was commissioned as an ensign and initially served as a special assistant in the Office of Legislative Affairs on Capitol Hill. He became a naval aviator and was assigned to anti-submarine patrol missions in Hawaii.  He became director of public affairs aboard the USS America aircraft carrier, and later became the chief of public affairs to the commander of Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

After his active duty service, he joined the Naval Reserve. His work in the Reserve centered around public relations and public affairs support. He served as the Navy’s Vice Chief of information until his retirement in 2011, with the rank of rear admiral. His business career found him working in close contact with regulatory matters in Washington, D.C. He served four years as Town Councilman for the borough of Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.

Braithwaite was nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Norway. He was confirmed by the Senate in 2017. Two years later, President Trump nominated him to become the U.S. Secretary of the Navy. He was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in on May 29, 2020.

He is married to Melissa and they have two children.

In the News…

Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “Russia has re-militarized the Arctic,” and the U.S. is prepared to maintain “a tailored maritime presence” in response. The hearing involved Navy and Marine Corps readiness.

“It should be an alarm to all Americans, as an Arctic nation, that we should have a more formidable presence to ensure the rule of law and freedom of the seas in that part of the world,” he said, adding that the U.S. will respond with “lethality” if necessary.

He told the senators, “The United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps, … is committed to being present in the Arctic in a much more visible way than we’ve historically been. … Power projection, sea control, and the ability to ensure to our partners and allies and to our own people that we, the United States Navy, have that first and foremost in our minds.”


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