Rear Adm. Brad Cooper is the son of a career Army officer and calls Montgomery, Alabama, his hometown. He is a 1989 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and earned a master’s degree in strategic intelligence from the National Intelligence University. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and studied international relations at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
He is a surface warfare officer whose sea assignments include USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51), the Cruiser-Destroyer Group 8 staff embarked in USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS Anzio (CG 68), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS Vicksburg (CG 69). He commanded USS Russell (DDG 59) and USS Gettysburg (CG 64). During these tours, he deployed nine times and participated in 13 real world operations spanning every combatant command theater of operation.
Assignments ashore include flag aide to commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, special assistant to commander, U.S. Africa Command, U.S. advisor to the Afghan Minister of the Interior, division chief for strategic reform of the Afghan police and border guards, and senior military assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel/Readiness). Cooper served in the Executive Office of the President of the United States as the first executive director of the White House Joining Forces Initiative. He has served multiple tours in the Navy Personnel Command including assignment as director, Surface Warfare Officer Career Management Division (Pers-41).
Cooper most recently served as commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea.
His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), Legion of Merit (three awards), Bronze Star Medal and the Cheon-Su National Security Medal from the Republic of Korea. Cooper is the recipient of the Adm. Elmo Zumwalt Award for Visionary Leadership. Crews with whom he has served have earned ten “Battle E” awards for operational excellence. While on Gettysburg, his amazing crew won the Battenberg Cup as the best ship, aircraft carrier or submarine in the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Fleet.