Vice Adm. Joe Tofalo grew up in upstate New York and graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. He also holds a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Catholic University of America. His father was a 35-year career naval officer and his mother a Navy Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVE), one of the first enlisted women in the Navy.
A career submarine officer, his at-sea assignments include: USS Flasher, USS Michigan and USS Montpelier. His at-sea command assignments were as commanding officer, USS Maine and commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 3.
Staff assignments include: three assignments on Commander, Submarine Forces staff; two assignments on Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces staff; four assignments on the chief of naval operations staff; U.S. Joint Forces Command; and the Joint Staff.
Selected for rear admiral in December 2009, his first flag assignment was as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Global Force Management and Joint Operations, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. In August 2011, he relieved as commander, Submarine Group 10, and in December 2013 as director, Undersea Warfare on the chief of naval operations staff in the Pentagon.
Tofalo assumed his current duties in September 2015. As commander, Submarine Forces he is the Undersea Domain lead, and is responsible for the submarine force's strategic vision. As commander, Submarine Force Atlantic, he commands all Atlantic-based U.S. submarines, their crews and supporting shore activities. These responsibilities also include duties as commander, Task Force (CTF) 144, CTF 84; commander, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Forces Western Atlantic; and CTF 46. As commander, Allied Submarine Command, he provides advice to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Strategic Commanders on submarine related issues.