Vice Admiral Donnelly assumed his current duties in February 2007. As commander, Submarine Forces he leads the Undersea Enterprise and is responsible for establishing force wide strategies on core submarine issues such as force structure, budgetary requirements, and manpower. As commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic he has command responsibility for all Atlantic based U.S. submarines, their crews, and supporting shore activities. As commander, Allied Submarine Command, he acts as the principal advisor to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on submarine plans, operations, and doctrine.
A native of Groton, Conn and a second-generation submarine officer, he was a physics major and distinguished graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1975. He received a Master of Science degree in Engineering Acoustics from the Naval Postgraduate School and attended MIT Seminar XXI on Foreign Politics, International Relations, and National Interest.
As a career submarine officer, he served as division officer on USS Tautog (SSN 639), engineer officer on USS Memphis (SSN 691), and executive officer on USS Simon Bolivar (SSBN 641). His afloat command assignments were aboard USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 709) and USS McKee (AS 41).
His early shore assignments include duty as a physics instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy; assistant for Undersea Warfare and Strategic Issues for the chief of naval operations executive panel staff (OP-00K); head of the Submarine Acquisition Branch (N872C) and assistant for Plans and Liaison (N87C) for the deputy chief of naval operations for Submarine Warfare Requirements.
Following major command, he served as chief of staff for commander, 7th Fleet where he was selected for flag rank. Subsequently, he served as director of Combat Plans (J5A) and deputy director for Operations and Logistics (J3/4A) at U.S. Strategic Command; as commander, Submarine Group 7; and as deputy commander and chief of staff, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
His awards and decorations include the Distinguish Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four awards), Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (six awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various unit and campaign awards.