As the Under Secretary Slavonic, he served as deputy and principal assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, as well as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Management Officer for the Department of the Navy. Additionally, he oversaw intelligence activities, special access programs, critical infrastructure issues, department budget of over $200 billion dollars and development and building future weapon systems and within the Department including the design the “355 ship” Navy. In addition, also served as the Acting Secretary of the Navy.
As the Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Secretary Slavonic was responsible for the overall supervision and oversight of manpower and reserve component affairs for 800,000 military (active and reserve) and civilian work force for the Department of the Navy. He managed key strategic issues for manpower policy in early 2020 response to COVID-19 pandemic. He developed the first Department of the Navy Civilian Human Capital Strategy which focused on building a ready force to respond to global forces impacting the Department. He holds a Top Secret (SCI) security clearance.
Prior to joining the Navy Department, he served as the Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and served as Lankford’s last chief when he U.S. Representative for the 5th District of Oklahoma.
Secretary Slavonic he was a senior leader at the Computer Sciences Corporation where he planned and executed several nationwide U.S. Navy community outreach engagements. For the past 40 years, the Secretary has held various civilian senior level positions in the communications industry and senior positions with broadcasting and print organizations. Prior to his work on the Hill and his senate confirmation he was president of Flagbridge Strategic Communications and is now CEO for BlueWater Strategies. A consulting company focused on strategic communications, crisis communications and leadership programs.
He also served as the Executive Director of the Jim Thorpe Association and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. In this role, the Secretary oversaw the annual presentation of the Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the “outstanding defensive back” in NCAA (Division I) football. Hall of Fame.
Secretary Slavonic retired from the U.S Navy/Navy Reserve after a 34-year career. He began by enlisting as a Seaman Recruit and concluded a distinguished career attaining the rank of Rear Admiral. During his Navy career he held four command assignments, served in combat deployments to Vietnam, First Gulf War (Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm) and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His final assignment was as the Navy’s Sixth Vice Chief of Information (CHINFO) and Director of Public Affairs Program (Reserve). The Secretary also served as the co-chair for the design and building of the USS Oklahoma Memorial at Pearl Harbor to remember the 429 Sailors and Marines who served aboard the battleship and lost their lives on December 7, 1941.
Secretary Slavonic has written two books on leadership development, co-authored a book on American Olympian Jim Thorpe, and a recently a book published on the first court arraignment of Saddam Hussein. His writings have appeared in The Defense Post, Inside Defense, RealClear Defense and Navy Times. Secretary Slavonic has also appeared on television and radio programs discussing defense related issues and has been a speaker at the NATO School (Oberammergau, Germany) on Arctic Sea/High North and challenges facing the U.S. and NATO allies.
His service awards include Bronze Star Medal (two awards), Legion of Merit Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon and many other service and campaign medals. He is also the recipient of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, Distinguished Public Service Award from the Secretary of the Navy, and a Special Commendation from Governor of State of Hawaii.
Currently, Secretary Slavonic serves on boards of directors and advisory boards for multiple defense-related companies and the board of directors on Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the WorldWide Speakers Group (WWSG).
He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and received a master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma. He has been recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award from Central Oklahoma and is Oklahoma State University Distinguished Alumni (College of Arts & Sciences).