Rear Admiral Stephen R. Pietropaoli, USN (Ret.)
Interim Senior Vice President, National Defense University
Senior Director, CAPSTONE
Stephen Pietropaoli reported to the National Defense University in November of 2009 to become Director of the CAPSTONE, KEYSTONE, and PINNACLE programs, which were created to prepare senior military and civilian leadership to better deal with the challenges of working in a joint environment. In an increasingly interconnected world, joint operations are required to meet rapidly evolving national security needs. These programs examine major issues affecting national security decision-making, Inter-agency issues, military strategy, joint/combined doctrine, interoperability, and the international implications of national policy.
Prior to reporting to NDU, Pietropaoli was the Executive Director of the Navy League of the United States, a position he assumed in October of 2003, coincident with retirement after 26 years of naval service. Founded in 1902 with the support of President Theodore Roosevelt, the Navy League is a powerful voice for a strong maritime component to our national defense. The Navy League’s missions include keeping the public and elected officials informed about the importance of seapower to national security and economic prosperity and providing direct support to sea service personnel and their families though our 250 Councils worldwide.
As the Navy’s Chief of Information from August 2000 until July 2003, Pietropaoli was responsible for all aspects of the Navy’s public affairs program, and was the principal public affairs counselor to the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations. Prior to his promotion to flag rank, Pietropaoli was the special assistant for public affairs to Army Generals Hugh Shelton and John Shalikashvili during their tenures as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
A 1977 graduate of Cornell University, Pietropaoli began his career aboard surface combatants in the Atlantic Fleet, serving as electrical officer aboard the destroyer USS HAWKINS and as anti-submarine warfare officer aboard the frigate USS BOWEN, completing two deployments to the Mediterranean and one circumnavigation of South America as part of the UNITAS exercises with South American navies.
Following his initial sea tour, Pietropaoli reported to the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Pennsylvania as engineering instructor and freshman advisor. While there, Pietropaoli was selected for re-designation as a public affairs specialist, one of only 200 such officers in the Navy. Reporting to the Office of Information, he spent the next three years on the Navy's national news desk in the Pentagon, working daily with the Pentagon press corps and media from around the world.
After completing a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism at American University, he returned to the Navy Office of Information as the executive assistant to the Chief of Information.RIn July 1989, Pietropaoli returned to the waterfront as the public affairs officer for the Commander of the Second Fleet aboard the flagship, USS MOUNT WHITNEY, followed by a tour as media relations officer for the commander of the Atlantic Fleet and the U.S. Atlantic Command.
Pietropaoli returned to Washington as head of the Navy's national news desk in July 1992 and became assistant chief of information for media operations in April 1994. Upon graduation from the National War College in June of 1997, where he was awarded the Master of Science in National Security Strategy, Pietropaoli reported for duty in the office of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Rear Admiral Pietropaoli is married to the former Dawn McInerney of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. Their first son, Daniel, was born in October 1992, and Matthew joined the family in August 1995.