Born in Lakewood, New Jersey, Rear Adm. Kevin Hayes was commissioned through the Navy ROTC program at the University of San Diego, graduating in 1987 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. He is also a 1999 graduate of The George Washington University, where he received his Masters of Business Administration. He is a 2004 graduate of the U.S. Naval War College and a recipient of the U.S. Naval War College Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies. He is also a graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College Advanced Joint Professional Military Education curriculum.
Upon completion of Surface Warfare Officer School in November 1987, Hayes reported for duty aboard USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2). On board Iwo Jima, he earned his surface warfare designation. Upon completion of steam engineering officer of the watch (EOOW) School, he reported as main propulsion assistant (MPA) to USS England (CG-22) in September 1990, joining England mid-deployment in the Persian Gulf. Upon completion of his tour in February 1992, he assumed one of two naval liaison officer roles working in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard in the counter-drug war.
In 1993, Hayes affiliated with the Selected Reserve. His leadership assignments have included command of Navy Reserve (NR) Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 24, Det. D; NR U.S. 4th Fleet/U.S. Naval Forces, Southern Command, NR United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) Det. 301 and 401; and NR U.S. 7th Fleet. Recent notable active duty included support to Commander 4th Fleet during Operation Unified Response, deputy commander for U.S. Southern Command (Command & Control team) following the 2010 Chilean earthquake; and as USPACOM Joint Operations Center (JOC) director during Operation Tomodachi. Hayes is a graduate of the Senior Navy Reserve Officer Orientation Course and is a former member of the Secretary of the Navy’s National Navy Reserve Policy Board.
Hayes’s most recent flag assignment was as deputy commander, U.S. Military Sealift Command, serving from November 2014 through September 2016. In his current role, Hayes serves as the deputy commander for the U.S. Navy’s Surface Force Atlantic.
Hayes's awards include the Legion of Merit (two awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy Commendation Medal (four awards), Navy Achievement Medal (four awards), and various campaign and service medals.
In his civilian capacity, Hayes is an account manager for a global communications company.