WASHINGTON (July 14, 2017) – After more than three-decades of serving the nation, Vice Adm. Joseph Rixey, director of Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), retired during a ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, July 14.
Rixey, a 1983 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, served as the 16th director of DSCA from Sept. 6, 2013 to July 14, 2017.
Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr, the 24th commander of U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), was the guest speaker for the ceremony. He reflected on serving with Rixey in the aftermath of 9-11, when Harris commanded Task Force 57 and Rixey served as a squadron commander at a location in the Middle East.
“One day, Naval historians will acknowledge the vision of Joe Rixey and our battle buddy Bob Lally for dreaming up the crazy idea to put P-3s overland in Afghanistan in those dark weeks following 9-11,” said Harris. “History will show how right they were -- our surveillance capability proved to be so reliable and timely that ground commanders often insisted upon the presence of MPRA before they would conduct a major troop movement.”
Under Rixey’s leadership, the agency has led a robust set of improvement initiatives laid out in a six-year strategy called Vision 2020 providing a foundation for the Security Cooperation (SC) reforms mandated by the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act. These efforts have focused on ensuring: the quality of the workforce through professionalization, the right-size of the quantity of resources through the protection of SC manpower, and more effective requirements prioritization through the consolidation of SC program management and budgets, and the expansion of planning capability.
"We are embarking on a focused journey under the rubric of Secretary Mattis' threat-based security cooperation,” said Rixey, in describing the reforms underway. With the demand of the National Defense Authorization Act and the forceful backing of the Secretary, we are embarking on a once-in-a-generation reform of the Security Cooperation Enterprise. DSCA is laser-focused and empowered to improve."
During the ceremony, Harris presented Rixey with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.
“He operationalized DSCA and made it more relevant, more responsive to the warfighter and our Nation,” said Harris.
Additionally, the Honorable Sean J. Stackley, Acting Secretary Of The Navy, presented Rixey’s wife, Kathy, with the Secretary of the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award.
"Collectively, we thought of the greater good,” noted Rixey, speaking to the agency and interagency. “I know each of you and your organizations rise every day to support and defend our nation as outlined by law and policy, aligned by our Nation's strategic goals."
Addressing foreign partner representatives, Rixey said, "We provide for you as we would provide to ourselves. We bring integrity and dedication to partner capacity building. We are dedicated to providing not just the end item, but full spectrum capability."
Rixey, a native of Monterey, California, started his naval career in August 1978 with enlistment and assignment to the Naval Academy Preparatory School, leading to graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1983. He was designated as a naval aviator in August 1986. His operational tours include: Patrol Squadron 17, Naval Air Station (NAS) Barbers Point, Hawaii; USS Constellation (CV 64) as a catapult and arresting gear officer and assistant air officer; Patrol Squadron 40, Whidbey Island, Washington; and commanding officer Patrol Squadron Two, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
The new DSCA director is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
DSCA’s mission is to lead the Security Cooperation community in developing and executing innovative security cooperation solutions that support mutual U.S. and partner interests. DSCA directs, administers, and provides guidance to the Department of Defense’s Components and representatives to U.S. missions, for the execution of the department’s Security Cooperation programs for which DSCA has responsibility.