Rear Adm. Dennis Velez is a native of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico. He is a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. He earned a master’s degree in Information Technology Management.
At sea, Velez served as pre-commissioning gunnery officer, auxiliaries officer and first lieutenant aboard USS Stout (DDG 55); operations officer aboard USS Carr (FFG 52); operations officer/air defense officer aboard USS Gettysburg (CG 64); joint training officer and military assistant to the Deputy Commander with Commander Second Fleet/Striking Fleet Atlantic, permanently embarked aboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20); deputy commander for Destroyer Squadron 15 in Japan; executive officer aboard USS Donald Cook (DDG 75); commanding officer aboard USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan; and also commanded USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and air defense commander for the Eisenhower Strike Group. Velez has operational experience in the Pacific, Atlantic, Middle East, Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Southwest Asia theaters.
Ashore, Velez served as officer in charge of Western Hemisphere Group Caribbean Area Coordinator in Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico; surface placement branch head, head Junior Surface Warfare Distribution, assistant captain detailer and deputy director for Surface Warfare Distribution (PERS-41) at Naval Personnel Command; Joint Staff Strategic Plans and Policy (CJCS J-5) directorate as chief, North East Asia Division and later as assistant director for Political-Military Affairs, Asia.
Most recently, he served as senior military assistant to the 76th Secretary of the Navy. Velez assumed the duties of commander, Navy Recruiting Command on April 3, 2020.
Velez is the recipient of the Navy League of the United States 2016 John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership. His personal military decorations include the Defense Superior Service, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service, the Navy Commendation, and the Navy Achievement Medals. However, he is most proud of his appointment as an Honorary Chief Petty Officer by Command Master Chief Steve Fontenot onboard USS Donald Cook.