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Deputy Commander, SOUTHCOM

Vice Admiral Joseph D. Kernan

Joseph D. Kernan
Vice Admiral
United States Navy
Deputy Commander, U.S. Southern Command

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Vice Admiral Joseph D. Kernan serves as the Military Deputy Commander of U.S. Southern Command, Miami, Florida. He is second-in-command of one of ten unified commands under the Department of Defense. Southern Command conducts military operations and promotes security cooperation throughout the 16 million square mile area of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.
Admiral Kernan, the son of a career Air Force pilot and Air Force nurse, was born at Travis Air Force Base, CA, Feb. 4, 1955. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1977.
While in the Surface Warfare community and based in San Diego, Ca, he served in the Weapons Department on the USS Downes (FF-1070) and in the Engineering Department on the USS Horne (CG 30). Admiral Kernan transferred to the Naval Special Warfare community in 1980 and completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training with Class 117 in 1981. He served in various capacities in Naval Special Warfare, to include tours in Underwater Demolition, SEAL and SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams, the Naval Special Warfare Center, the Naval Special Warfare Development Group and the Naval Special Warfare Command. Additionally, Admiral Kernan served two tours on the Navy Staff and joint tours at the Joint Special Operations Command, the U.S Special Operations Command and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
His flag officer commands include the Naval Special Warfare Command and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. FOURTH Fleet.
He assumed his duties as the U.S. Southern Command Military Deputy Commander in May 2011.
He and his wife Jan have two children, Sean and Shannon, and both his brother and father-in-law were career naval aviators.


(Current as of June 2011)