He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in aerospace engineering, then went to nuclear power school. Subsequently, he earned a Master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, graduating with distinction and he attended Stanford University as a National Security Affairs Fellow.
After nuclear power training, he spent his sea career on submarines, including a tour as executive officer of USS Pasadena (SSN-752) where he twice deployed to the Persian Gulf, and commanding officer of USS Asheville (SSN-758). He subsequently served as commander, Submarine Squadron 6. He also served as deputy director then director, Submarine Warfare Division; senior military assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; and commander, Submarine Group 2.