Vice Adm. Frank Pandolfe grew up in New England, graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1980 and was awarded a doctorate in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1987.
At sea, he served in USS David R. Ray (DD 971), USS John Hancock (DD 981), USS Hue City (CG 66), and USS Forrestal (CV 59). He commanded USS Mitscher (DDG 57) from 1999 to 2001, earning three Battle Efficiency Awards for operational excellence and three Golden Anchor awards for superior retention. He subsequently commanded Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 18 from 2003 to 2004, operating as sea combat commander for Enterprise Carrier Strike Group in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From 2008 to 2009, he led Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group on a combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Ashore, he was assigned to the Navy Staff as executive assistant to the chief of naval operations, the Joint Staff as the deputy director for Joint Strategic Planning, the White House Staff as military aide and advisor to the vice president of the United States. He also was director, Surface Warfare Division, OPNAV N86 and commander, 6th Fleet/Striking and Support Forces NATO. Most recently, he served as the director for Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5) on the Joint Staff.
He serves as assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He oversees matters requiring close personal control by the Chairman, with a particular focus on international relations and politico-military concerns. He also acts as the principal military advisor to the Secretary of State. He assumed those duties December 18, 2015.
His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, and additional individual, campaign and unit awards.