Rear Adm. John Watkins was born in San Francisco and raised in San Diego, California. He is a 1991 graduate of the University of San Diego where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Training Corps program. He joined U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet as the chief of staff in April 2019, and promoted into his current flag rank in June 2020.
He was originally a surface warfare officer serving as an engineering officer aboard USS Ingersoll (DD 990). Following his initial sea tour, Watkins attended the Naval Postgraduate School obtaining a Master of Science in Information Technology Management in addition to laterally transferring into the Information Professional community in 2000.
Watkins’ staff assignments include Naval Space Command, Naval Satellite Operations Center, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Commander Naval Surface Forces, Chief of Naval Operations N2/N6 Directorate, assistant chief of staff for C4I, N6, U.S. Third Fleet, and the Chief Staff Officer for Naval Information Forces West.
His operational tours include assignments as executive officer USS Coronado (AGF 11) forward deployed in support of U.S. Seventh Fleet, assistant chief of staff for C4I, N6, Expeditionary Strike Group 3 forward deployed to Commander U.S. Fifth Fleet, and as information warfare commander and assistant chief of staff for C4I, N6, Carrier Strike Group 9 embarked aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS George Washington (CVN 73).
His command tours include Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station San Diego, Navy Information Operations Command Texas, and the Naval Information Warfighting Development Center.