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Vice Admiral Carol M. Pottenger, BA, PhD (HC), MSM, LM, DSM


© PHOTOGRAPH of New Westminster College - Vice Admiral Carol M. Pottenger, United States Navy - Distinguished Fellow of New Westminster College - http://newwestminstercollege.ca

BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY: Vice Admiral Carol M. Pottenger, BA, PhD (HC), MSM, LM, DSM

Vice Admiral Carol M. Pottenger is a Vice Admiral of the United States Navy and a Distinguished Fellow of New Westminster College. She graduated with a B.A. from Purdue University in 1977 and in 2007 received a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Sciences – Honoris Causa from Purdue University.

Vice Admiral Pottenger has a distinguished record of ethical leadership and presently serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Capability Development at NATO Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, in Norfolk, Virginia, where she facilitates efforts to guide, influence and support NATO and the 28 Allied Nations and Partners in military capability transformation. Vice Admiral Pottenger leads a diverse international staff spanning North America and Europe that provides the driving force in NATO Defence Planning to determine military requirements and shortfalls, including through collaboration with industry, academia, innovation, concept development and systems engineering.

Vice Admiral Pottenger was commissioned as an ensign through NROTC after graduating from Purdue University. She became one of the first women selected for sea duty and reported aboard the USS Yosemite (AD 19) as the Engineering Division Officer. Subsequent sea tours included assignment as the Operations Officer aboard the USS Yellowstone (AD 41) and Executive Officer aboard the USS Kiska (AE 35). Vice Admiral Pottenger assumed command of the USS Shasta (AE 33) in 1996, completing several deployments in support of the Commander of the 5th Fleet and Commander of the 7th Fleet. She took command of the USS Bridge (AOE 10) in 2001, and during an extended deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, re-supplied 10 battle groups, amphibious groups and dozens of coalition ships; receiving the Battle E and the 2002 Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy.

Vice Admiral Pottenger has served in a variety of U.S. Navy command positions and her senior-level leadership experience includes:

  • 2010-present: Deputy Chief of Staff, Capability Development, NATO Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation
  • 2008-2010: Commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command
  • 2006-2008: Commander, CTF 76 and Expeditionary Strike Group Seven
  • 2005-2006: Commander, Military Sealift Fleet Support Command

Vice Admiral Pottenger’s shore tours have included assignment to Commander, Service Group 2 as staff communications officer; assignment to the United States Naval Academy as the 25th Company Officer; commanding officer of two Navy Operational Support Centers in Mare Island, California, and San Diego, California. She also served as COMNAVSURFRESFOR Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, institutionalizing manpower and personnel best practices across a force of 65,000 Reservists.

During several tours in the Pentagon, Vice Admiral Pottenger served as executive assistant for two, three and four star flag officers, including service as the Executive Assistant for the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. Upon selection to flag rank she served as Deputy Chief of Navy Reserve for one year. In November 2005, Vice Admiral Pottenger established a new Navy command, creating a type commander for over 40 combat logistics and special mission ships. She served for one year as the first Commander Military Sealift Fleet Support Command. In November 2006, Vice Admiral Pottenger became the first female admiral to command a strike group when she assumed command of Amphibious Force 7th Fleet/Expeditionary Strike Group 7 at White Beach, Okinawa. In September 2008, she became the third Commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command as a force provider of 40,000 Sailors, Active and Reserve, providing unique expeditionary combat and combat support capability to combatant commanders in every theater of operations.

Vice Admiral Pottenger’s awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, six Legions of Merit, three Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and numerous other campaign and service medals and ribbons.

As a Distinguished Fellow of New Westminster College, Vice Admiral Carol M. Pottenger is dedicated to supporting the highest standards of academic excellence and is committed to the advancement of New Westminster College and its Global Network of Fellows.


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