Oklahoman Greg Slavonic spent 34 years in the Navy, entering as an enlistee and retiring from the Reserves as a rear admiral.
None of those 34 years, he said, have been quite like his last four months as the Navy’s second-ranked civilian.
“The things I’m learning now, acclimating to now, and being brought up to speed on are far beyond anything I was involved in in the Navy,” said Slavonic, who became acting undersecretary of the Navy in June. I’m being briefed on things that, when I leave this job, I’ll never be able able to talk about for the rest of my life.”
Slavonic, 71, spent most of his naval and civilian career in communications and public affairs. He later served as chief of staff to U.S. Rep. and then Sen. James Lankford before becoming assistant secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs in 2018.
The past four months, he said, have been a crash course in all aspects of naval operations, from weapons systems to ships and other platforms to strategy.
Slavonic was appointed by current Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite — the fourth Navy secretary in Slavonic’s 27 months at the Pentagon.
Slavonic said he and Braithwaite have known each other for 25 years.
In his new role, Slavonic may also have a somewhat closer working relationship with U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.