Defense Secretary Ash Carter nominated Vice Adm. James Caldwell to be the new director for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, a joint effort between the Navy and Department of Energy, after current Naval Reactors director Adm. John Richardson was nominated to be the next chief of naval operations.
Caldwell has served as the director of Navy staff since May. The 1981 Naval Academy graduate served as naval inspector general prior to his current assignment.
At sea, he has commanded USS Jacksonville (SSN-699), Submarine Development Squadron (DEVRON) 12, Submarine Group 9 and the Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He was also a division officer on USS Boston (SSN-703), engineering officer on USS Alabama (SSBN-731) and executive officer on USS Buffalo (SSN-715).
Ashore, he served on the Pacific Fleet Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board and later as Undersea Warfare (USW) Requirements officer on the staff of Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Caldwell was also a senior member of the Naval Submarine Force’s Tactical Readiness Evaluation Team.
The Naval Reactors job is an eight-year assignment, meant to provide continuity over some of the most complex engineering work in the Navy. Caldwell, if confirmed for the job, would have a busy eight years as the Ohio Replacement Program ballistic missile submarine ramps up.