Rear Adm. Joseph A. Sestak, Jr. entered the U.S. Naval Academy from his hometown of Springfield, Pennsylvania, and graduated with the class of 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree.
He has served six sea tours with units of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets during which he made seven deployments to Europe, the Persian Gulf and the western and South Pacific. He served in command of USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) named the best overall surface ship in the Atlantic Fleet in the Battenberg Cup selection, and as commander, Destroyer Squadron 14. He also served at sea as commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group Two and George Washington Battle Group deploying to both the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.
Between tours at sea, Sestak earned a Master's in Public Administration and a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
He served as flag lieutenant to Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and on the Joint Staff in the Force Structure Resources and Assessment Directorate. He also served on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations as head of the Strategy and Concepts Branch and director of the Strategy and Policy Division. He was then director of the Navy Quadrennial Defense Review, after which he became the first director of the Navy Operations Group (Deep Blue).
He also served in the Office of the President of the United States as the director for Defense Policy on the National Security Council staff at the White House; as director, Assessment Division / Capability Analysis Group (N81/N00X); and as deputy chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs (N6/N7) on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. Sestak's last assignment was as special assistant to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations.