|Captain George A. Kessler, Jr.
Captain Kessler, a native of Albany, Missouri, received his Bachelor of Science and earned his commission from the United States Naval Academy in June of 1995. In addition, he holds a Master of Arts in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School, is a 2009 graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College and a 2016 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI Fellow.
After commissioning, Captain Kessler served as the Main Propulsion Officer and Replenishment at Sea Officer in USS Supply (AOE 6). He served as the Navigator and Damage Control Assistant in USS Cape St George (CG 71) completing a Mediterranean & Arabian Gulf deployment in support of Desert Shield and Desert Fox. As a Department Head, he served as the commissioning Weapons Officer and Combat Systems Officer in USS Mustin (DDG 89) leading the ship through her maiden deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Following his Department Head tours, Captain Kessler was assigned to the Navy Staff in the Pentagon as the Executive Assistant to Director Strategy and Policy Division. He then transferred to the Joint Staff as part of the Joint Integrated Air & Missile Defense Organization (JIAMDO). While at JIAMDO, he was assigned duty as the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle Program Officer in the Protection Assessment Division of the Joint Staff Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment Directorate. He then completed his tour as the Theater Missile Warning and Command, Control and Communications Branch Chief.
Captain Kessler’s most recent sea tour was in USS Spruance (DDG 111) as the precommisioning Executive Officer and then as the Commanding Officer from May 2012 through December 2013. As Commanding Officer, he led Spruance through her first training cycle, multiple fleet and international exercises, and her maiden deployment to the Western Pacific where the ship received the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation and won the Battle Efficiency award.
Ashore again, Captain Kessler served on the Navy Staff in the International Engagement Directorate as the Asia-Pacific Section Chief. Additionally, he led the Working Group responsible for developing the U.S.-China Rules of Behavior for the Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters Confidence Building Measure. Captain Kessler then transferred to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and served as the Senior Advisor for Maritime Strategy and Security to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia Pacific Security Affairs.
Captain Kessler’s personal decorations include the Legion of Merit; Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; and various other medals, unit and campaign awards.