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A businessman, diplomat and career US Naval Officer, Kenneth J. Braithwaite of Pennsylvania was the first US Navy Flag Officer (Admiral) to serve as Secretary of the Navy. He previously served as the 31st U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway where he significantly strengthened the relationship between the US and Norway and brought greater attention to the Arctic. 


Secretary Braithwaite graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984 and later earned a master’s degree in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania, Fels School of Government. The Secretary served as a naval aviator, flying anti-submarine patrol missions tracking adversary submarines in the Pacific and Arctic regions.

Later redesignated as a public affairs officer, he served aboard

the aircraft carrier USS America (CV 66) with additional duty assignments to Carrier Group 2, Striking Force U.S. 6th Fleet and Chief of Public Affairs at Naval Base Philadelphia.

The Secretary left active duty in 1993, continuing his naval service in the Navy Reserve where he served as Commanding Officer of Navy Combat Camera Atlantic and standing up Joint Public Affairs Support Element – Joint Forces Command as its first commander. Secretary Braithwaite deployed in 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom in support of naval operations to capture the port of Umm Qasr, and later in 2005 to Pakistan as part of the Joint Task Force for Disaster Assistance. In his final Navy assignment, Secretary Braithwaite served as the first Vice Chief of Information. 

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