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Spotlight on Women: Admiral Lisa Franchetti

On Friday, President Joe Biden nominated Admiral Lisa Franchetti to serve as the next Chief of Naval Operations. Once confirmed, she will be come the first woman to serve as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Her nomination is based on her vast experience in a truly impressive naval career.

A woman in a Navy officer's dress uniform posing in front of the U.S. and Navy flags
Admiral Lisa Franchetti, Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

Admiral Lisa Franchetti is from Rochester, New York. She originally studied journalism, wanting to become a reporter covering the Middle East. However, in 1981, she met a group of Navy ROTC students that lead to her interest in joining the Navy. She graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and officially joined the Navy through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Program in 1985 – five years after the first woman graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. Later, she attended the Naval War College and received her master’s degree from the University of Phoenix.

Admiral Franchetti’s operational tours include operations officer on the USS Moosbrugger; combat systems officer and chief staff officer for Destroyer Squadron 2; executive officer of the USS Stout; assistant surface operations officer on the USS George Washington Strike Group; commander of the USS Ross; and commander of Pacific Partnership 2010 on the USNS Mercy, among others.

Her ashore assignments include commander, Naval Reserve Center Central Point, Oregon; aide to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations; protocol officer for the commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; deputy director of International Engagement and executive assistant to N3/N5 on the Navy staff; and military assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, and others.

Admiral Franchetti’s career continued with her flag assignments, such as commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea and commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, Naval Striking and Support Force NATO. While leading the U.S. 6th Fleet, she oversaw the first-ever Tomahawk missile strike by a Virginia-class attack submarine in response to the Syrian president’s chemical attacks on his own people in 2018. She also served as deputy commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe; deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development, NF; and director for Strategy, Plans and Policy (J-5). Franchetti has served as Vice Chief of Naval Operations since September of last year.

Admiral Franchetti’s distinguished career includes many awards. These include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Maring Corps Commendation Medal, and the Navy and marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Two women in naval uniforms posing for a selfie
Then-Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander of U.S. 6th Fleet, Photo Credit: MC1 Theron Godbold/U.S. Navy

She is spoken very highly of by those who have worked with her. Retired Vice Admiral Nora Tyson said this of Franchetti: “[She] is probably one of the best, well-rounded officers that we could put in as CNO. And that’s because she’s had, A, the leadership experience; B, she has had a lot of experience working with our allies and partners around the world.” Retired Vice Admiral Ron Boxall said, “She’s a role model for a lot of young female officers, mostly surface warfare officers, and she’s always taken it as a personal mission for her to be that mentor that she never had, or that she had very few of.”

Retired Admiral James Foggo put it best in discussing Franchetti: “One of the things she said is, I learned a lot a long time ago that you do not have to sacrifice your femininity or your gender identity to be a good leader in the Navy.” In Foggo’s words, “…[Y]ou don’t have to lower your voice. You don’t have to yell. You don’t have to use bad language. You can just lead. You can be an effective leader by listening to your people, caring for your people, understanding your people, knowing something about your people. That’s leadership, and it has nothing to do with gender.”

All of this is what makes Admiral Franchetti an excellent choice to serve as the next Chief of Naval Operations.



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