VADM Richard Brown, USN (Ret)
2021 Human Systems Digital Experience
Vice Admiral Rich Brown is a recognized expert in crisis management including the single most important issue of our time, COVID-19, having successfully kept the 92 Surface Ships of the Pacific Fleet and their crews operational during the height of the pandemic. As demonstrated during his 35-year career in the United States Navy, he is also a change leader who led the digital transformation and technical refresh of the Navy’s Personnel System; completely revamped the Surface Warfare Officer career path; brought Surface Warfare training into the 21st Century by transforming the curricula and devices to state-of-the-art virtual systems; and created programs and policies that professionalized the Surface Warfare community. He designed, initiated, tracked, oversaw and successfully implemented the most comprehensive culture change the United States Navy has ever achieved.
Brown was appointed Commander, Naval Surface Forces/Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet following the tragic destroyer collisions and loss of 17 sailors in 2017 in the Pacific. He was hand-selected to fix a deteriorating institution. He revamped the career and training continuum of over 6,500 Surface Warfare Officers, revitalized training regimens of the 162 surface ships and changed the culture of the Surface Force of over 55,000 sailors to a Culture of Excellence. He led a staff of 475 in the manning, training and equipping of the United States Navy’s Surface Ship Fleet, influencing a $40 billion annual enterprise-wide budget, and directly executing a $3 billion annual Naval Surface Force U. S. Pacific Fleet budget. He directed detailed succession planning for Surface Warfare senior and flag officers, ensuring the right leader was available at the right time
Brown was hand-selected twice to lead two high visibility and critical investigations. In August 2017, he led the dual-purpose investigation into the collision of USS JOHN S MCCAIN (DDG 56) and Motor Vessel ALNIC MC in the Singapore Traffic Separation Scheme and in May 2020, he led the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT investigation into the command relationships, decisions, and climate following the COVID-19 breakout that took this capital asset off-line for two months. These investigations resulted in concrete and measurable recommendations for Navy improvement in operational oversight, safety, crew training, and personnel.
Brown excels in key stakeholder engagement, including an extensive history of successfully engaging directly with and being held accountable through briefings and congressional testimony to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees.
Brown held seven command tours throughout his career. Prior commands include USS THE SULLIVANS (DDG 68), USS GETTYSBURG (CG 64), Surface Warfare Officers School Command, Naval Service Training Command, Carrier Strike Group Eleven/NIMITZ Carrier Strike Group and Navy Personnel Command/Deputy Chief of Navy Personnel.
Brown holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the United States Naval Academy, a Master of Science in Operations Research from the United States Naval Postgraduate School, and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College.