Robert P. Girrier M.M.A. ’90

Degree: Master's of Marine Affairs

Career: Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy

Rear Adm. Robert Girrier’s 30-year career with the United States Navy has involved commanding delicate operations, challenging deployments and military readiness activities throughout our world’s oceans. A surface warfare officer, he recently served as deputy commander of the Pacific Fleet and as director of operations for the U.S. Pacific Command, overseeing military activities throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. He commanded carrier strike groups that supported the global war on terrorism in the Middle East, as well as disaster response for Japan. Earlier, he commanded the USS Roosevelt, Destroyer Squadron 15 and the USS Guardian operating throughout the Mediterranean and the Pacific.

He describes his new role as the Navy’s first director of unmanned warfare systems as “a new field for the Navy.” He will guide the rapid development, prototyping and demonstration of remotely operated and autonomous military systems that will operate in the air and on and under the sea. “It gets into elements of innovation, about how we bring needs to the fleet faster,” he said. “It’s about technology and applying technology to areas where we might have capability gaps. It’s very exciting, and I think it’s very much the future.”

When not at sea, Adm. Girrier was an instructor at the Surface Warfare School in Newport and served as a policy planner to NATO, an administrative aide to the Secretary of the Navy, and executive assistant to the commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe. A recipient of the 2015 URI Distinguished Achievement Award, he is the co-author of three professional naval books.


Sean Fay-Wolfe has a great fondness for Minecraft, the wildly popular video game that allows players to build their own world out of blocks and undertake an infinite variety of adventures. “It’s not really a game,” he said, “more like a virtual world you can explore and do whatever you want.”