In January 2013, Rear Adm. Kenneth Norton assumed the duties as commander, Naval Safety Center.
Norton commanded USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) from 2007 to 2010, leading the ship on two U.S. Central Command deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Following the second deployment, he successfully led Reagan during the multinational maritime exercise Rim of the Pacific exercise 2010. Under his command, Reagan was awarded the 2008 and 2009 Battle "E" as well as the 2009 Chief of Naval Operations Afloat Safety Award.
Norton’s other command tours include USS Camden (AOE 2) from October 2004 to October 2005 and commanding officer Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Two from 1998 to 2001. Under his command and leadership Camden was awarded the 2004 Battle "E."
Afloat tours include Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 2 (HS-2) from March 1983 to December 1985, where he made two Western Pacific/Indian Ocean deployments aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). He then reported to Carrier Air Wing 9 (CVW-9) and deployed to the Persian Gulf aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in support of post-Desert Storm operations as the helicopter operations/anti-submarine warfare officer. In May 1992, he reported to HS-6 for his aviation department head tour where he deployed aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in support of Operation Southern Watch in Southern Iraq and Restore Hope in Somalia. Norton served as the squadron executive officer to HS-10 from 1997 to July 1998. Following his tour at HS-10, he joined CVW-2 aboard USS Constellation (CV 64) where he served as air wing executive officer. After completion of the Navy’s nuclear power training pipeline, Norton reported aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and served as the executive officer from December 2002 to September 2004.
Ashore, Norton served on the H-60 Fleet Introduction Team (FIT) while simultaneously instructing at Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) 41 (HSL-41) from January 1986 to April 1990. Norton’s other shore assignments include the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) PERS-432, studying at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and service as a battle watch captain attached to J3 of JFCC GSI / U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) from November 2005 to September 2007.
Following his command tours, Norton reported as the special assistant to Commander, Naval Air Forces in September 2010. His first flag assignment was as U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, deputy chief of staff for Strategy, Resources, and Plans where he served from April 2011 to December 2012.
Norton was commissioned in July 1981 under the Aviation Reserve Officer Candidate (AVROC) program and graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology. He has accumulated over 4,500 hours in rotary wing aircraft and has nine overseas deployments. His personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, in addition to various unit and service awards.