Del Toro Sworn In As Navy Secretary; White House Nominates Navy General Counsel

August 10, 2021 3:48 PM

Carlos Del Toro, a former surface warfare officer and destroyer commander, was sworn in as the 78th secretary of the Navy late Monday.

During a private evening ceremony at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va., Navy assistant secretary for energy, installations and environment Meredith Berger swore Del Toro into the position, according to a Navy official.

On Tuesday, Del Toro joined Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday on a visit to Naval Station Norfolk, Va., to see the ongoing Large Scale Exercise 2021.

In a fleet message on Tuesday, Del Toro singled out China as one of the service’s major challenges, echoing comments he made to Congress during his confirmation hearing.

Carlos Del Toro

“Like Secretary Austin, I view our most pressing challenges as the four Cs – China, Culture, Climate, and COVID, and we need the resources and capabilities to address each now,” Del Toro wrote in the message. “China is determined to reduce our military superiority. We will not let this happen. We will deter China’s aggression, protect our national security, and preserve the peace. Our determination, our skill, and our courage will demonstrate our strength and conviction.”

Del Toro is the Navy’s second Hispanic secretary. Edwardo Hidalgo was the first during former President Jimmy Carter’s administration.

During his time in uniform, Del Toro served as the commanding officer of one of the Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, USS Bulkeley (DDG-84).

“His 22-year naval career included a series of critical appointments and numerous tours of duty at sea – including First Commanding Officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84); Senior Executive Assistant to the Director for Program Analysis and Evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and Special Assistant to the Director and Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget – where he helped manage the budgets of DOD, the U.S. Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the Peace Corps,” according to his official Navy biography.

The Senate confirmed Del Toro to the position over the weekend after the Senate Armed Services Committee voted him out of the panel late last month.

“I believe that as our nation shifts from a land-based strategy over the past 20 years fighting the wars in the Middle East to a more dominant maritime strategy in the Pacific – particularly in our efforts to deter China – I do believe that our Navy-Marine Corps team will need additional resources to be able to fully field the combat effectiveness we will need as a nation to do so,” Del Toro told lawmakers during his July confirmation hearing. “And I am committed – in fact that it’s my responsibility – to make that case to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the administration moving forward in the Fiscal Year [20]23 budget, if confirmed.”

Meanwhile, the White House on Tuesday will announce its pick for the Navy’s general counsel position. John “Sean” Coffey, a former naval aviator who went to Georgetown University Law Center, will get nominated for the role.

“After graduating from Annapolis, Coffey completed Naval Flight Officer training and served eight years on active duty, including assignments as a P-3C Orion mission commander, junior officer intern to the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and personal military assistant to Vice President George H.W. Bush,” according to Coffey’s official biography.

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox