CAPT Randy Cruz, USN Assistant Chief of Naval Research US Navy
AIAA Defense Forum 2023
Capt. Randy Cruz is a native of Pittsburg, California. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Systems Engineering. After commissioning, Cruz completed flight training in Pensacola, Florida and chose to fly the E-2C Hawkeye, earning his wings of gold as a Naval Flight Officer in May 1999. He has a Master of Science degree in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.
His operational assignments include a tour with Carrier Airborne Command and Control Squadron VAW-113 Black Eagles as a junior officer, VAW-112 Goldenhawks as a department head, and he has had the privilege of leading the VAW-117 Wallbangers as the executive and commanding officer.
A graduate of TOPGUN and the United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS), he conducted developmental flight tests and managed numerous avionics and aircraft projects and programs, to include E-2C Foreign Military Sales for Taiwan and Egypt. He orchestrated the manpower, facilities and training efforts to bring the game-changing E-2D Advanced Hawkeye to Initial Operational Capability.
Shore and staff tours include duty as a project officer conducting development test flights at VX-20 in Patuxent River, a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) senior mission planner at NAVCENT, Kingdom of Bahrain, an advanced Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, and as the director for Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Tactical Training Group Pacific, Point Loma, California.
In 2018, Cruz was selected by the NASA Administrator to serve as his senior advisor. As the senior advisor, he advised NASA leadership on all matters to include aerospace and aeronautic operations, infrastructure, foreign and legislative affairs, communications, and risk management; allowing the safe return of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil.
In 2021, he reported and served as executive assistant to the Chief of Naval Research and is now assigned as the Assistant Chief of Naval Research.
Cruz has accumulated over 2,900 hours in 20 different aircraft and over 400 carrier arrested landings. His personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Association, Leadership Award, five Meritorious Service Medals, three Strike/Flight Air Medals, four Navy Commendation Medals, two Naval Achievement Medals, and various unit and individual awards.
Updated: January 2023