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Capt. Joe Oravec

NSWCDD Commanding Officer

Capt. Joe Oravec is the 48th Commanding Officer of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) where he assumed command on June 21, 2024.

He is a native of Tampa, Florida and a 1992 graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science & International Affairs. He is also a 1996 graduate of the University of South Florida with a master’s degree in Political Science and a 2006 graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California with a master’s degree in Systems Engineering & Analysis. He entered the Navy via Officer Candidate School in 1999.

His at-sea assignments as a Surface Warfare Officer included USS STUMP (DD-978) as Fire Control Officer,

USS WHIRLWIND (PC-11) as Weapons Officer, Chief Engineer onboard USS HARPERS FERRY (LSD-49), and Officer in Charge of Littoral Combat Ship Mine Counter-Measures Detachment One. He also volunteered for a one-year individual augmentee assignment as an embedded trainer and eventually executive officer of the Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission – Navy (ITAM-N) in Umm Qasr, Iraq. His shore assignments included assignment as an engineering assessor at Engineering Assessments Pacific.

On his return from Iraq, Oravec conducted a lateral transfer to the Engineering Duty Officer (EDO) community and attended EDO Basic School. He then served as the Standard Missile Technical Representative Office at the Raytheon Missile Systems facility located in Tucson, Arizona while completing post-master’s studies in systems integration; as the Standard Missile (SM)-3 Block IA/IB Program Manager, Sea-Based Weapon Systems Program Executive Office at Missile Defense Agency; and as Air Dominance Department Officer (ADO) at Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division. As ADO, he was responsible for in-service engineering, logistics, availability execution, and live fire test support of the Aegis weapon system (including Ballistic Missile Defense capability), Cooperative Engagement Capability, Vertical Launch System, surface launched missiles, and various other surface combat system elements.

Oravec then served as the 28th Commanding Officer of NSWCDD Dam Neck Activity in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Dam Neck Activity provides research & development and engineering support in the areas of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber-Defense, Combat Systems, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C6ISR) systems; afloat and ashore training systems; cybersecurity testing; and direct support to various surface combat systems elements.

Oravec next served as the Major Program Manager for the SM-3 Guided Missile Program, Sea-Based Weapon System Program Executive Office at Missile Defense Agency, where he oversaw all aspects of the SM-3 missile portfolio including development, flight test, production, sustainment, and disposal of SM-3 Blocks IA, IB, and IIA. Highlights during his tour included the first combat use of the SM-3 by the U.S. Navy in the eastern Mediterranean, approval of SM-3 Block IIA for Full Production by USD (A&S), and delivery of the first Block IIA missiles to both the U.S. and Japanese navies.

His personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), the Iraq Campaign Medal, and various other service and deployment awards. He is DAWIA Level Three certified in both Program Management and Engineering.