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

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.

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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. 

Gary Roughead, an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Insti

Gary Roughead: The Perils Of A Partisan Military

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Stanford
Thursday, October 20, 2016

When retired military leaders speak out on partisan issues, it is unhealthy for our democracy, says Admiral Gary Roughead, former Chief of Naval Operations and a fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Featured AnalysisFeatured

Sea Change In The Middle East

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

America’s view of the Middle East today is shaped by our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rise and reach of ISIS, a grinding conflict in Syria, the region as a source of wider ranging terrorism and staggering outflows of refugees that is changing the political calculus in Europe. As our strategic role in the Middle East began with a meeting on the water so, too, are consequential changes there taking place at sea – the domain in which the U.S. has enjoyed unfettered access and dominance for over seventy years.   

Analysis and Commentary

Report of the Commission On The Eastern Mediterranean

by Rear Admiral Shaul Chorev (Ret.), Mary Landrieu, Admiral Ami Ayalon (Ret.), Seth Cropsey, Charles D. Davidson, Douglas Feith, Arthur Herman, Ron Prosor, Admiral Gary Roughead, Eytan Sheshinskivia
Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Authoritarian politics, energy and computer technology and war are rapidly transforming the Eastern Mediterranean.

Featured CommentaryFeatured

Sustaining Military Readiness—The Devil Is In The Details

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Strategika
Friday, April 29, 2016

Today’s global security crystal ball is murky, but a safe assumption is that the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe will remain unsettled and nests of terrorist activity, motivation, and recruitment; with sanctions lifted Iran’s conventional military re-emergence in the region will further challenge the security environment in the Middle East; Northeast Asian allies, China, and the U.S. will continue to react to an unpredictable regime in North Korea.

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North Star Rising

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 16, 2015

The Arctic is the world’s new frontier for resources, shipping, and security. We need to stake our claim.


In The Race For Arctic Energy, The U.S. And Russia Are Polar Opposites

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia The Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Obama administration dithers while Moscow—with China close behind—revs up offshore oil production.

Analysis and Commentary

Getting Serious About The Arctic: US Interests In The North

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Harvard International Review
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

In our fast paced world of sound bites, tweets, and captivating images, recent horrific acts such as those in Nigeria, Paris, and Pakistan shock us with increasing frequency.