Vice Adm. Robert Burke grew up in Portage, Michigan, and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Western Michigan University and the University of Central Florida.
Burke’s operational assignments include service aboard both attack and ballistic missile submarines, including USS Von Steuben (SSBN 632), USS Maryland (SSBN 738) and USS Bremerton (SSN 698). He commanded USS Hampton (SSN 767) in Norfolk, Virginia, and was commodore of Submarine Development Squadron (DEVRON) 12 in Groton, Connecticut. Burke was recognized by the United States Submarine League with the Jack Darby Award for Leadership in 2004 and the Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Award for Inspirational Leadership in 2005.
His staff assignments include tours as an instructor and director for the Electrical Engineering Division at Naval Nuclear Power School, junior board member on the Pacific Fleet Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board, submarine officer community manager/nuclear officer program manager; senior Tactical Readiness Evaluation Team member at Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; the deputy director for Operations, Strategy and Policy Directorate (J5) at United States Joint Forces Command; the division director, Submarine/Nuclear Power Distribution (PERS-42); and director, Joint and Fleet Operations, N3/N5, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.
As a flag officer, Burke has served as deputy commander, U.S. 6th Fleet; director of operations (N3), U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa; commander, Submarine Group 8; and most recently as director, Military Personnel Plans and Policy (OPNAV N13).
He assumed duties as the Navy’s 58th chief of naval personnel, May 27, 2016. Serving concurrently as the deputy chief of naval operations (Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education) (N1), he is responsible for the planning and programming of all manpower, personnel, training and education resources for the U.S. Navy. He manages an annual operating budget of $29 billion and leads more than 26,000 employees engaged in the recruiting, personnel management, training and development of Navy personnel. His responsibilities include overseeing Navy Recruiting Command, Navy Personnel Command and Naval Education and Training Command.
His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (five awards) and various campaign and unit awards.