Navy Biography

Vice Admiral John N. Christenson


Vice Admiral John N. Christenson

Vice Adm. John N. Christenson reported as U.S. Military Representative, NATO Military Committee, Brussels, Belgium in October 2015.

The fourth of six sons of a Navy Skyraider pilot and a Navy nurse, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1981.

At sea, he commanded USS McClusky (FFG 41); Destroyer Squadron 21 on USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74); Naval Mine and Anti-submarine Warfare Command, Corpus Christi, which included operational commander duties in the 5th and 7th Fleets; Carrier Strike Group 12/USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Strike Group; and as President, Board of Inspection and Survey. He also served at sea as the anti-submarine warfare officer, nuclear weapons officer, and main propulsion assistant aboard USS Cook (FF 1083); aide to the commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group 1 on USS Long Beach (CGN 9); weapons officer aboard USS Downes (FF 1070); Destroyer Squadron 21 combat systems officer on USS Nimitz (CVN 68); and as executive officer aboard USS Harry W. Hill (DD 986). He deployed eight times on seven ships and twice in command of McClusky.

Ashore, he commanded the Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, and was the President of the Naval War College. He also served at the U.S. Naval Academy as a company officer, celestial navigation instructor, assistant varsity soccer coach, and member of the admissions board. Other assignments include Headquarters, United States Marine Corps in the Strategic Initiatives Group; on the Joint Staff, J5 and executive assistant to the assistant chairman; Deputy, United States Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee in Brussels; and most recently, as Chief of Staff, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany.

He graduated with distinction and first in his class from the Naval War College, earning his Master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. He was also a Navy Federal Executive Fellow at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Christenson has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), the Legion of Merit (five awards), the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (five awards) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.


Updated: 15 January 2016