Rear Adm. Dawn Cutler is a native of Portland, Oregon. She is a 1989 graduate of Oregon State University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and earned her commission as a general unrestricted line officer through Navy ROTC program. She holds a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Cutler reported to her first tour as the public affairs, administrative and maintenance administrative officer for Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 1 in San Diego. She then served as the public affairs/protocol officer for Commander, Naval Security Group Activity, Edzell, Scotland; and in 1994, she was assigned as the administrative department head for Commander, Helicopter Antisubmarine Warfare Wing, Pacific, San Diego. In 1995, she was accepted for lateral transfer to the public affairs community.
She has served in various public affairs officer assignments: TRICARE Region 9, San Diego; commander, Naval Surface Force, Pacific, San Diego; Office of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon; commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Yokosuka, Japan; Commander Naval Forces Europe & Africa, Naples, Italy; and three tours at Navy Office of Information (CHINFO) as a news desk officer, executive assistant and the deputy chief of information.
Cutler served as the U.S. Navy’s chief of information. She was the principal spokeswoman for the Department of the Navy and provided strategic counsel to the secretary of the Navy and the chief of naval operations. She led the Navy’s public affairs community, consisting of more than 2,500 active and reserve officer, enlisted and civilian communication professionals.
Cutler’s decorations include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards).