Robert O. Work was confirmed as the Under Secretary of the Navy on May 19, 2009. In this capacity, Work serves as the deputy and principal assistant to the secretary of the Navy and acts with full authority of the secretary in the day-to-day management of the Department of the Navy. Work was a distinguished graduate of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Course at the University of Illinois, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in August 1974. During his 27-year career, Work held a wide range of command, leadership, and management positions. He commanded an artillery battery and artillery battalion, and was the base commander at Camp Fuji, Japan. His last assignment was as Military Assistant and Senior Aide to the Honorable Richard J. Danzig, 71st secretary of the Navy.
After retiring from the Marine Corps, Work joined the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), first as the senior fellow for maritime affairs, and later as the vice president for strategic studies. In these positions, he focused on defense strategy and programs, revolutions in war, Department of Defense transformation, and maritime affairs. He wrote and spoke extensively on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps strategies and programs; directed and analyzed war games for the Office of Net Assessment and Office of the Secretary of Defense; contributed to Department of Defense studies on global basing and emerging military missions; and provided support for the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review.
In addition, he studied and prepared several reports on future defense challenges, including the changing nature of undersea warfare, power projection against regional nuclear powers, and power projection against future anti-access/area denial networks. During this time, Work was also an adjunct professor at George Washington University, where he taught defense analysis and roles and missions of the armed forces.
In late 2008, Work served on President Barack Obama’s Department of Defense Transition Team. In this role, he was the leader of the Department of the Navy issue team, and served on the defense policy, acquisition, and budget teams.
Work earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Illinois; a Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California; a Master of Science in Space System Operations from the Naval Postgraduate School; and a Master in International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).