James D. Watkins: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James David Watkins

Admiral Watkins in 1982.

In office
March 1, 1989 – January 20, 1993
President George H.W. Bush
Preceded by John S. Herrington
Succeeded by Hazel R. O'Leary

Born March 7, 1927 (1927-03-07) (age 82)
Alma mater United States Naval Academy
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Admiral
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Awards Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (3)
Bronze Star

Admiral James David Watkins (born on March 7, 1927) is a retired United States Navy officer and former Chief of Naval Operations who also served as U.S. Secretary of Energy during the George H. W. Bush Administration and chaired U.S. government commissions on HIV/AIDS and ocean policy. Watkins has also served on the boards of various companies and other nongovernmental organizations. Currently, Admiral Watkins serves as the co-chair of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative.

Watkins' important positions within the United States Government include:

He has also served (and serves) several non-Governmental roles:

  • Co-chair of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (JOCI) (2004-)
  • A Director of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc. (1993 - 2000)
  • A Director of GTS Duratek since April 1997
  • A Director of Southern California Edison Co.
  • A Director of International Technology Corp.
  • A Director of Philadelphia Electric Co.
  • A Director of VESTAR Inc.
  • Trustee, Carnegie Corporation of New York (1993-1998)
  • President of the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (1994-March 2001)
  • Member, Naval Academy Endowment Trust Board of Directors
  • Life Member, USNA Alumni Association
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation



Naval career

Watkins attended Webb School of California in Claremont, California; he subsequently graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1949 and received his master's degree in mechanical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1958.

Admiral Watkins spent 37 years in the Navy, serving on destroyers, cruisers and submarines, and shore assignments in personnel management.

During his tenure in the U. S. Navy, Watkins served as Chief of Naval Operations, Commander of the Sixth Fleet, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, and Commander-in-chief of the Pacific Fleet.

He has received the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two gold award stars, Bronze Star with Combat V device, China Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four campaign stars, and has been decorated and honored by several other nations including receiving the United Nations Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and decorations from Brazil, Korea, Italy, France, Spain, Japan, Pakistan and Sweden.

In March 2001, Watkins was given the title of President Emeritus of the Consortium for Ocean Research and Education (CORE), and was awarded the Navy's Distinguished Public Award by the Secretary of the Navy. On April 21, 2005, the Naval Postgraduate Mechanical Engineering Building was renamed Watkins Hall, after Admiral James D. Watkins. Watkins is also a member of the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Hall of Fame.[1]

Oceans work

Admiral Watkins’ ties to oceans as a graduate of the Naval Academy, submariner and former Chief of Naval Operations, have contributed to his commitment to ocean policy reform. When the Oceans Act of 2000 was passed, President George W. Bush established the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, and appointed Admiral Watkins to chair the commission. The 16-member commission presented recommendations for a new and comprehensive national ocean policy. Their final report, An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century, was released in 2004.

Concurrently, the Pew Charitable Trusts established the Pew Oceans Commission, which was led by President Bill Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Leon E. Panetta. The 18-member group presented its own recommendations on ocean policy to Congress and the Administration. Their final report, America's Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change, was released in 2003.

The two reports listed strikingly similar recommendations. As a result, Congress and the Administration began to recognize the importance of ocean policy reform. To further these recommendations, and to act as one unified force, the two commissions came together in 2004 to establish the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative. Admiral Watkins currently co-chairs the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative with Leon Panetta, and is called on as an expert to advise and testify before Congress on ocean governance reform. He is also cited in the media as an expert on ocean issues and has penned a number of opinion pieces calling for ocean reform that were published in national outlets.[1][2][3]


Admiral Watkins is the father of six children including Katherine Watkins Coopersmith, RNCS; successful internet entrepreneur, Edward Francis Watkins; a nuclear engineer, Susan Watkins; and Catholic priest Monsignor James D. Watkins, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Northwest Washington D.C.

Civilian awards

In 1983, Watkins was inducted as a Knight of Malta. In 1991 he was awarded the AAES Chairs' Award from the American Association of Engineering Societies.[4]

Reagan Administration

President Reagan appointed Watkins as chairman of his President’s Commission on the HIV Epidemic. The Admiral won the support of many AIDS-awareness advocates when his conservative panel unexpectedly recommended supporting antibias laws to protect HIV-positive people, on-demand treatment for drug addicts, and the speeding of AIDS-related research.

George H. W. Bush Administration

Watkins is sworn in as Energy Secretary

On March 9, 1989, Watkins was sworn in as Secretary of Energy by President George H. W. Bush.

On June 27, 1989, Watkins announced the Ten-Point Plan to strengthen environmental protection and waste management activities at the United States Department of Energy's production, research, and testing facilities.

In September 1989, he established the Modernization Review Committee to review the assumptions and recommendations of the 2010 Report.

On November 9, 1989, Watkins established the Office of Environmental Restoration and Waste Management within the Department of Energy.

On August 15, 1990, Secretary Watkins announced plans to increase oil production and decrease consumption to counter Iraqi-Kuwaiti oil losses caused by the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait.

On March 4, 1991, he transmitted the Administration's energy bill to the House and Senate.

On May 10, 1992, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee he reported that, for the first time since 1945, the United States was not building any nuclear weapons.

He remained in his position as Energy Secretary until 1993.

George W. Bush Administration

Admiral Watkins was appointed to what would be the second Presidential commission to be known as the Watkins Commission when named Chairman of the United States Commission on Ocean Policy in 2001.


On President Reagan...

  • "Strong moral integrity, with an ever-confident hand on the national 'tiller,' best defined and guided President Reagan as I witnessed his Commander-in-Chief decision-making qualities,"
  • "Always with clear vision, firmness of purpose, no wavering in follow-through, and demonstrated moral courage, he made lasting decisions and expressed them in simple, understandable terms. What great respect and admiration we all had for our Commander-in-Chief,"

On the AIDS epidemic...

  • “Semen, blood, and ignorance surround this epidemic, and we were in that last category”

See also


External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Thomas B. Hayward
United States Chief of Naval Operations
Succeeded by
Carlisle A.H. Trost
Political offices
Preceded by
John S. Herrington
United States Secretary of Energy
Succeeded by
Hazel R. O'Leary

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address