Rear Adm. Daniel O’Toole is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 1977, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with honors from High Point College and received a Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1980. He earned a Master of Laws (Environmental Law) from The George Washington University National Law Center in 1992. O’Toole engaged in the private practice of law in Winston-Salem beginning in 1980. He received his Naval Reserve commission in 1983 through the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps direct commission program and began active duty in January of 1984.
O’Toole’s litigation assignments include serving as a prosecutor and then as a defense counsel for Naval Legal Service Office, Newport, Rhode Island. He later served as executive officer and interim commanding officer of Trial Service Office East, Norfolk. He twice served in the General Litigation Division of the Office of the Judge Advocate General, including as its director, and served as a circuit military trial judge in Norfolk. Prior to his selection to flag rank, O’Toole was the chief judge of the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals from 2007 to 2009. The deputy secretary of defense simultaneously appointed him deputy chief judge of the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review where he later served as acting chief judge.
In addition to litigation positions, O’Toole served as staff judge advocate (SJA) at Naval Air Station, Brunswick, and on the staff of Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. He also served as SJA, Commander Carrier Group 8 embarked on USS John F. Kennedy (CV67) and as SJA on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. O’Toole was environmental counsel for Commander Navy Region Norfolk and later on the U.S. Atlantic Fleet staff. He also served in the Office of the Judge Advocate General as director of management and plans, officer community manager, and special counsel to the Navy General Counsel.
O’Toole became the first military judge to be selected for flag rank as Assistant Judge Advocate General of the Navy, Chief Judge of the Department of the Navy (AJAG-Chief Judge) June 10, 2009. As chief judge, he has primary administrative supervisory responsibility over the Department of the Navy’s judiciary, both at the trial and appellate levels, active and reserve. He also serves as the principal strategic planner and community sponsor for the military justice litigation career track within the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
O’Toole is a 1984 honors graduate of the Naval Justice School and is the 2007 Distinguished Graduate of the 47th Military Judge’s Course. He is the 2008 recipient of the Maj. Gen. William K. Suter Distinguished Judicial Service Award. His personal awards include the Legion of Merit (five awards), the Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), the Joint Services Achievement Medal and the Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), as well as other campaign and service medals and ribbons.