Rear Adm. Michael Vernazza is a native of New Jersey and a 1990 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. He holds a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Troy State University, a Certificate in Legislative Studies from Georgetown University, and is a graduate of the Naval War College and the Joint Forces Staff College. He is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI Fellow and a Harvard Kennedy School of Government Senior Executive Fellow.
Originally he was a surface warfare officer, his initial assignments included serving as electrical officer aboard USS Aylwin (FF 1081), main propulsion assistant aboard USS Capodanno (FF 1093) and officer-in-charge of Engineering Training Group, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
As an intelligence officer, Vernazza’s assignments included Asian tactical officer and Northeast Asia naval branch chief at Joint Intelligence Center Pacific; fleet intelligence support officer at U.S. Commander, 3rd Fleet (C3F) aboard USS Coronado (AGF 11); and intelligence requirements and readiness officer at U.S. Fleet Forces Command.
His senior leadership assignments included command operations officer, Joint Forces Command Intelligence Command; deputy branch head for Battlespace Awareness Programs, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV); team lead for intelligence and irregular warfare, 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, OPNAV; director for intelligence, Carrier Strike Group 11 aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68); director for intelligence, C3F; division director, Information Warfare Community and Foreign Area Officer Assignments/Senior Intelligence Officer Detailing (PERS-47); and chief of staff, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet.
Vernazza commanded Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Georgia and Commander, Task Force 1050, Ft. Gordon, Ga.
He is the recipient of various personal, unit and campaign awards including the Edwin T. Layton Leadership Award, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and Meritorious Service Medal.