Rear Adm. Robert Burke grew up in Portage, Michigan, and holds bachelors and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Western Michigan University and the University of Central Florida.
His operational assignments include service in both attack and ballistic missile submarines, including USS Von Steuben (SSBN 632), USS Maryland (SSBN 738), and USS Bremerton (SSN 698). He has deployed to the Arctic, North Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Western Pacific.
Burke commanded USS Hampton (SSN 767) in Norfolk, Virginia, and was commodore of Submarine Development Squadron (DEVRON) 12 in Groton, Connecticut. During his tenure as commanding officer, Burke was recognized by the United States Submarine League with the Jack Darby Award for Leadership for 2004, and the Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Award for Inspirational Leadership for 2005.
His staff assignments included tours as an instructor and director of the Officer Department Electrical Engineering Division at Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando, Florida; junior board member on the Pacific Fleet Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board; and as the Submarine Officer Community manager/Nuclear Officer Program manager in the office of the Director, Military Personnel Plans and Policy Division (N13).
Following command, he held assignments as senior member, Tactical Readiness Evaluation Team, on the staff of Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; as the deputy director for Operations, Strategy and Policy Directorate (J5), at United States Joint Forces Command; as the division director, Submarine/Nuclear Power Distribution (PERS-42) and Nuclear Propulsion Program Manager (N133), Director, Joint and Fleet Operations (N3/N5), U.S. Fleet Forces Command and most recently as deputy commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, director of Operations (N3), U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Submarine Group 8.
Burke assumed his current duties in Washington, D.C., in August 2015.
His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (five awards) and various campaign and unit awards.