Vice Admiral Charles B. Cooper II, Commander, U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet

Vice Admiral Charles B. Cooper II

Commander, U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet

Charles Bradford “Brad” Cooper II was born in 1967 in Northern Virginia. He earned an undergraduate degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, a master’s degree from the National Intelligence University, and has received additional education through the U.S. military. 

He is a career Surface Warfare Officer, serving on guided-missile cruisers, guided-missile destroyers, aircraft carriers, and amphibious assault ships. His ship commands include USS Russell and USS Gettysburg.

Ashore, he served in a variety of executive, military assistant, and special assistant roles in the White House, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Africa Command, and U.S. Pacific Fleet headquarters.  He also served as principal U.S. Adviser to the Interior Minister of Afghanistan and Director, Surface Warfare Officer assignments.

As a flag officer, he served as the Chief of Legislative Affairs, where he led the Navy’s engagement with the U.S. Congress. Other tours include commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, where he launched new initiatives to expand mental health care access for Sailors and improve fleet-wide readiness; commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7 in Okinawa, Japan, where he led the U.S. military’s first F-35 deployment; and, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea. During this tour, his sailors were honored with the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, the first such recognition of a Navy unit since the Korean War.

Cooper is married to Susan and they have two children. 

In the News…

Amid tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and Tehran’s arming of Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the U.S. Navy, while avoiding directly monitoring Iran, is starting to offer cash rewards and other goods for reliable intelligence in the Persian Gulf and other strategic waters that will help them intercept weapons, drugs, and other illicit shipments.

The Fifth Fleet and its partners seized $500 million in drugs alone in 2021, more than the four prior years combined. The Fifth Fleet also intercepted 9,000 weapons in the same period, three times the number seized in 2020.

A spokesperson for the Fifth Fleet said, “Any destabilizing activity has our attention. Definitely we have seen in the last year skyrocketing success in seizing both illegal narcotics and illicit weapons. This represents another step in our effort to enhance the regional maritime security.”

The rewards program marks the latest initiative under Fifth Fleet Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, who also launched a drone task force last year amid tensions with Iran. Vice Admiral Cooper’s other effort, the Red Sea task force, has drawn opposition from the Houthis in the past.


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