A native of Chicago, Rear Adm. Scott Stearney graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and was commissioned in October 1982. Following training, he was designated a Naval Aviator in April 1984. Stearney is a graduate of the Navy Fighter Weapons School and holds a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University.
His sea assignments include: Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87 Golden Warriors embarked on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), VFA-136 “Knighthawks” embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) and strike warfare officer for commander, Carrier Group (CCG) 4. Stearney commanded the VFA-131 Wildcats embarked on USS George Washington (CVN 73) and later commanded Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW 7) embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). He served in Kabul, Afghanistan, as chief of staff of Joint Task Force 435 (JTF 435) and later Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 (CJIATF 435).
Ashore, Stearney served as tactics instructor and readiness officer at Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), aide de camp to the chief of Naval Operations, deputy director J6 U.S. Joint Forces Command, executive assistant to the deputy commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command and the chief of staff, Strike Force Training Atlantic.
As a flag officer, he has served as commander, U.S. Transportation Command’s (USTRANSCOM) Joint Enabling Capabilities Command (JECC). Following this joint tour, he served as commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL), commander, Carrier Strike Group 4 and commander, Navy Warfare Development Command.
Stearney assumed responsibilities as director of operations, U.S. Central Command in May 2016.
Stearney has flown over 4,500 hours and accumulated over 1,000 carrier-arrested landings flying the FA-18 A, B,C,D,E and F strike fighter aircraft. He has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), the Legion of Merit (three awards), the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), the Air Medal (three awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Association Peer Leadership Award as well as other commendations and awards.