Rear Adm. Joseph A. DiGuardo Jr. is a native of Fallston, Maryland. He received his commission and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in History. He commenced Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training in February 1995. He also holds a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College.
His sea duty and operational assignments include officer in charge (OIC), Special Boat Unit Twelve (SBU 12); auxiliary and electrical officer; USS Frederick (LST-1184); OIC, EOD Mobile Unit Eight Detachment (DET) Eight; OIC, EOD Mobile Unit Eight DET, Bahrain; special projects officer, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC); executive officer, EOD Mobile Unit Two; deputy director, Counter improvised explosive devices (IED) Task Force, U.S. Central Command; commanding officer, EOD Mobile Unit Eleven; and commodore, Navy Expeditionary Combat Forces Central, Task Force Five Six (NECFC/CTF 56), where he was made an honorary chief petty officer. He has completed eight combat deployments in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and commander U.S. 5th Fleet.
His shore assignments include OIC, Navy Counter IED Center of Excellence, Joint IED Defeat Organization; director, Navy Warfare Group, OPNAV N515; Branch Head, Navy Expeditionary Combat, OPNAV N957; and vice deputy director, Global Operations (J39), Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He is currently assigned as director, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Fusion Cell, U.S. Special Operations Command.
He is a designated EOD Officer with qualifications as a special operations officer, master EOD technician, surface warfare officer, naval parachutist, basic diving officer, and combat craft patrol officer.
DiGuardo's awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (three awards), Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Unit Commendation, and various other personal and campaign commendations.