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John Kirby
Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby briefs reporters at the Pentagon, March 27, 2014 140327-D-NI589-064.jpg
Spokesperson for the United States Department of State
Assumed office
May 13, 2015
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Jen Psaki
Personal details
Born St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.
Alma mater University of South Florida, Tampa
Troy University
Naval War College
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1986–2015
Rank US-O8 insignia Rear Admiral
Commands Chief of Naval Information

John Kirby is a rear admiral in the United States Navy who is the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations and spokesman serving under the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. He served as one of two Pentagon press secretaries during that time, the other being George E. Little. On April 22, 2015, it was announced that Kirby would be the new spokesman for the United States Department of State after he retired from the military later in the year.[1] Kirby officially became spokesperson for the State Department on May 13, 2015.


Kirby grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is a 1985 graduate of the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in history. He holds a master of science degree in international relations from Troy State University and a master of arts in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College.

Kirby was commissioned in September 1986 after completing Officer Candidate School at Newport, Rhode Island. He qualified as a surface warfare officer aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Aubrey Fitch (FFG 34). As a public affairs officer, Kirby served at sea aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CV 59) and on the staff of the commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet, embarked aboard the command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20).

While ashore, Kirby completed tours as an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy; public affairs officer with the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels); editor in chief of the Navy’s flagship monthly magazine, All Hands; the staffs of the chief of naval personnel, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, chief of naval operations, and the special assistant for public affairs to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His most recent assignment was serving as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations.

Kirby served as the U.S. Navy’s chief of information, serving as the principal spokesman for the Department of the Navy and providing strategic communication counsel to the secretary of the Navy and the chief of naval operations. As CHINFO, he led the Navy’s public affairs community consisting of more than 2,700 active and reserve officer, enlisted, and civilian communication professionals. In December 2013, he was appointed by Chuck Hagel to be the Pentagon press secretary.[2][3][4]

Kirby has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, as well as various campaign and service awards.


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Political offices
Preceded by
Jen Psaki
Spokesperson for the United States Department of State

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