Vice Adm. Joseph Rixey is a native of Monterey, California. He started his naval career in August 1978 with enlistment and assignment to the Naval Academy Preparatory School leading to graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1983. Rixey earned a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering and Engineer's Degree in Aeronautics at the Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, California. He was designated as a naval aviator in August 1986.
His operational tours include Patrol Squadron 17, Naval Air Station (NAS) Barbers Point, Hawaii; USS Constellation (CV 64) as a catapult and arresting gear officer and assistant air officer; VP-40, Whidbey Island, Washington; and commanding officer VP-2, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
His previous shore assignments included Naval Air Systems Command as the P-3 Training Systems program manager, NAS Patuxent River, Maryland; P-8A Poseidon team lead; Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft program manager; deputy program executive officer, Air Anti-Submarine Warfare and Advanced Sensors programs; and as vice commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. Rixey served as the deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for international programs and as the director for the Navy International Programs Office.
Rixey was most recently the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
Personal decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (three awards), Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Air Medal S/F, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards) with combat "V" (one award), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (one award).