Admiral Gary Roughead

Robert and Marion Oster Distinguished Military Fellow

Admiral Gary Roughead, USN (Ret.), is the Robert and Marion Oster Distinguished Military Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Admiral Roughead graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1973. In September 2007, he became the twenty-ninth chief of naval operations after holding six operational commands and is one of only two officers in the navy’s history to have commanded both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.

Ashore he served as the commandant at the US Naval Academy, during which time he led the strategic planning effort that underpinned that institution’s first capital campaign. He was also the navy’s chief of legislative affairs, responsible for the Department of the Navy’s interaction with Congress, and the deputy commander of the US Pacific Command during the massive relief effort following the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean.

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 Fourth and Tenth Fleets to better focus on the Western Hemisphere and cyber operations, respectively. Admiral Roughead introduced bold programs to prepare for the primacy of information in warfare and the use of social media within the navy. He also led the navy through changes in law and personnel policy to draw more inclusively than ever on the navy’s greatest strength, its sailors.

Admiral 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.

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Recent Commentary

In the News

Hoover Event Calls For National Unity To Combat Threat Faced By Rising Eurasian Powers

quoting Admiral Gary Roughead, Abbas Milani, Michael McFaulvia The Stanford Daily
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Reflecting on the rise of three Eurasian superpowers — China, Russia and Iran — three Hoover Institution faculty spoke at the Institution’s Traitel Auditorium on the need for national unity in ensuring the promotion of American values and interests over the next decades. The event featured speakers Gary Roughhead, Abbas Milani and Michael McFaul and was part of a broader Hoover lecture series intended to promote values of American democracy, private enterprise and political freedom as it celebrates the centennial of its founding.

In the News

Pompeo Warns China’s Management Of Haifa Port Threatens U.S.-Israel Intel Sharing

quoting Admiral Gary Rougheadvia World Tribune
Friday, March 29, 2019

A lease agreement allowing a Chinese company to manage an Israeli port where U.S. Navy ships dock could undermine U.S.-Israeli intelligence sharing, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned.

US Air Force Thunderbirds flying in formation

Gary Roughead: Providing For The Common Defense

interview with Admiral Gary Rougheadvia 9/11 Memorial
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Gary Roughead discusses the landscape of the post-9/11 conflicts in the Middle East.


Hoover Panel Talks Military Tech Innovation In U.S. And China

featuring Hoover Institution, Admiral Gary Roughead, George P. Shultzvia Stanford Daily
Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Hoover Institution's “Governance in an Emerging New World” series, organized by former secretary of state George Shultz, has traversed different regions of the world to address the challenges of rapid development. Monday’s event, the seventh in the series, specifically focused on the state of military technological innovation in the United States and China, and addressed its implications for a changing strategic dynamic in the global sphere.


Information: The New Pacific Coin of the Realm

by Admiral Gary Roughead, Emelia Spencer Probasco, Ralph Semmelvia Governance In An Emerging New World
Monday, February 25, 2019

History informs and rhymes, and the admonition of Isaiah Bowman is as valid today as it was in 1946. A participant in the World War I peace conference in Paris and the president of the Johns Hopkins University, whose Applied Physics Laboratory produced breakthrough innovations during World War II and the Cold War (and today), Bowman understood international challenges and appreciated the role of technology in defining national power. He also understood that it is not one sector or particular endeavor that underpins national security—it is the collective responsibility of society.

Gary Roughead, an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Insti
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Silk Roads and Bad Maps: China and the US in the Indo-Pacific with Gary Roughead

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Hoover Institution
Thursday, March 15, 2018

Admiral Gary Roughead (USN, Ret.) the Robert and Marion Oster Distinguished Military Fellow at the Hoover Institution gave a talk titled Silk Roads and Bad Maps: China and the US in the Indo-Pacific.


Featured CommentaryFeatured

A Stretched Navy And A Fiscal Disconnect

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Strategika
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Last year, within two weeks’ time, two deadly collisions of U.S. Navy ships in western Pacific sea-lanes brought home the reality of a Navy in increasing demand yet stretched precariously thin. The captains and those responsible on watch those nights, as they operated in congested Asian waters, were held to account, but it remains the nation that has allowed and accepted the conditions that led to those tragic events and the loss of 17 sailors.

Former CNO Roughead on Arctic Strategy, Future US Navy Capabilities

featuring Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Defense and Aerospace Report
Sunday, January 29, 2017

Adm. Gary Roughead, USN Ret., former chief of US naval operations and current Robert and Marion Oster Distinguished Military Fellow at the Hoover Institution, discusses US Arctic strategy and future US Navy capabilities with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian. The interview was conducted at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Jan. 23, 2017, following a panel discussion on US arctic strategy.

The military thinks bolstering its presence in the Arctic is necessary, but that may not be enough to make it happen

featuring Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Anchorage Daily News
Friday, January 27, 2017

An otherwise complete military strategy for the U.S. Arctic is on hold during the transition between presidential administrations, but Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan shared what he knows of its contents — including concerns about growing Russian aggression in the region.

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How to Sustain Our Military

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 21, 2016

Ships, shells, and boots on the ground: restoring our armed forces is all in the details.