Paul G. Gaffney II

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Paul G. Gaffney II
Paul Gaffney DN-SC-00-03211.jpg
VADM Paul G. Gaffney II (Ret.), as president of National Defense University, 06/12/2000
Seventh President of Monmouth University
In office
July 2003 – July 2013
Personal details
Born (1946-05-30) May 30, 1946 (age 73)
Attleboro, Massachusetts
Alma materUnited States Naval Academy
The Catholic University of America
Jacksonville University

Vice Admiral Paul Golden Gaffney II, USN (Ret.), (born May 30, 1946) was the seventh president of Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey, from 2003 to 2013, becoming president emeritus August 1, 2013.

Gaffney graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1968. Upon graduation, he was selected for immediate graduate education and received a master's degree in Ocean Engineering from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He completed a year as a student and advanced research fellow at the Naval War College, graduating with highest distinction. He completed an M.B.A. at Jacksonville University. The University of South Carolina, Jacksonville University, and The Catholic University of America have awarded him honorary doctorates.

He was president of the National Defense University from 2000 to 2003. Admiral Gaffney was the Chief of Naval Research with responsibility for science and technology investment for the Navy and Marine Corps from 1996-2000 and Commander of Naval Oceanography and Meteorology, 1994-1997. In July 2001 he was appointed by the President to the United States Commission on Ocean Policy, and served through the full term of the Commission until 2004. In August 2009, Gaffney was named the chair of the Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP), a panel created by statute to advise federal agencies regarding ocean science and management matters.[1] In 2012 he co-chaired the Decadal Review of the US Ocean Exploration Program. In October 2014, he was appointed as the first chair of new Ocean Exploration Advisory Board (OAEB), serving until 2017.[2] [3] Since 2015, he has been a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine's Gulf of Mexico Research Program Advisory Board.[4]

Gaffney's naval career spanned over three decades including duty at sea, overseas, and ashore in executive and command positions. He served in Japan, Vietnam, Spain, and Indonesia. While a military officer, his career focused on oceanography.

He is the eponym of Gaffney Ridge, an undersea ridge in the South China Sea, 220 miles west of the Philippines (located at Latitude 13° 23' 00" N and Longitude 118° 32' 00" E).[5][6][7] Gaffney also became the namesake of a supercomputer at the newest Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Center at the John C. Stennis Space Center, in Hancock County, Miss., when he was honored by the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NMOC) on January 25, 2019.[8]

Gaffney is the recipient of a number of military decorations, the Naval War College's J. William Middendorf Prize for Strategic Research, the Outstanding Public Service Award from the Virginia Research and Technology Consortium, and the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies Navigator Award.[9] He has served on several boards of higher education and was a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the United States National Research Council. He is a director of Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc., and currently serves as a Fellow of the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University,[10] and on the leadership council of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative.[11][12] In 2010, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for technical leadership in naval research and development and its impact on U.S. defense, ocean policy, and the Arctic.[13] He chaired a National Academies’ Transportation Research Board study on domestic transportation of energy fluids (2015-2017)[14] and chaired a National Academies consensus study on the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current.[15][16] He is a Trustee of the Ocean Exploration Trust.[17]

Gaffney retired from Monmouth University in August 2013.[18][19][20] His contributions to the success of Monmouth University and its athletic programs during his tenure were noted in a February 2016 retrospective.[21]

Following his retirement from Monmouth University, Gaffney has remained active in academia, and was the guest speaker at the hooding ceremony for master's and doctoral graduates of the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in May 2014.[22] On June 13, 2015, Gaffney was honored by the Aquarium of the Pacific with a 2015 Ocean Conservation Award.[23]" On May 7, 2016, Gaffney was the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor sponsored by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations. [24]

At a Jan. 25, 2019 ceremony Gaffney was one of three honorees inducted into the first class of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Hall of Fame.[25] Gaffney was lauded as the first naval oceanographer to attain the rank of vice admiral who "attained the visionary goal of making Naval Oceanography a true world-class supercomputing facility and delivered three oceanographic survey ships into the operational fleet—USNS Pathfinder (T-AGS-60), USNS Sumner (T-AGS-61) and USNS Bowditch (T-AGS-62)."[26]


  1. ^ "Monmouth University President Takes on New Role", National Oceanographic Partnership Program, October 20, 2009. Accessed July 17, 2015. "Gaffney, who served on the U.S Commission on Ocean Policy, has been named head of the Ocean Research & Resources Advisory Panel, which provides independent advice and guidance to leaders of more than 25 federal agencies whose missions involve ocean science and management."
  2. ^ "Panel to Guide Ocean Exploration", Hydro International, November 26, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2015. "NOAA has appointed 13 members to a new federal Ocean Exploration Advisory Board that will provide guidance to NOAA and the nation on the exploration of the US ocean.... VADM Paul Gaffney USN (ret) will chair the board."
  3. ^ "America First? Don't forget our seas", Corpus Christi Caller-Times, June 27, 2017. Accessed June 28, 2018. "In building a policy agenda for our nation’s future, the Trump Administration has made “America First” its guiding principle. With that in mind, our federal government must continue to our oceans."
  4. ^ "Gulf Research Program Advisory Board Members", The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Accessed October 9, 2017.
  5. ^ "Gaffney Ridge: Undersea Features SOURCE: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Bethesda, MD, USA, Accessed April 16, 2014
  6. ^ Gaffney Ridge "Wolfram|Alpha: Gaffney Ridge"
  7. ^ "Sails Set to the Sky", Monmouth University Magazine, Summer 2003.
  8. ^ "Naval Oceanography Honors First Hall of Fame Inductees, Dedicates New Supercomputers". Archived from the original on 2019-01-30.
  9. ^ 2001 Navigator Award Winners, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Accessed March 8, 2008.
  10. ^ "Gaffney is Urban Coast Institute Fellow", Monmouth University Magazine, Fall 2013.
  11. ^ "Vice Admiral Paul Gaffney II". Archived from the original on 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2014-04-16. Joint Initiative Leadership Council Biographies.
  12. ^ "For science and security, Trump should prioritize our oceans". Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  13. ^ VADM Paul G. Gaffney II, National Academy of Engineering. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  14. ^ Safely Transporting Hazardous Liquids and Gases in a Changing U.S. Energy Landscape. 2017. doi:10.17226/24923. ISBN 978-0-309-46690-5.
  15. ^ "New report calls for research to better understand, predict Gulf of Mexico's loop current system". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  16. ^ Gulf Research Program (2018). Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations (2018). doi:10.17226/24823. ISBN 978-0-309-46220-4.
  17. ^ "Ocean Exploration Trust - Board of Directors". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  18. ^ Serrano, Ken. "Monmouth University president to retire", Courier-Post, February 27, 2012. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  19. ^ Considine, Bob. "Monmouth University president to retire in 2013", The Star-Ledger, February 27, 2012. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  20. ^ Levesque, Eamon. " A lifetime of service; Retiring university leader and city native Paul Gaffney II can look back on long Navy career", The Sun Chronicle, August 7, 2013. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  21. ^ Edelson, Stephen. [1]"Tracing Monmouth's Cinderella rise to Paul Gaffney"], The Asbury Park Press", February 16, 2016, accessed February 25, 2016.
  22. ^ Mark your calendars: The graduation countdown is on!, University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, April 28, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  23. ^ "Long Beach’s Aquarium Honors Retired Naval Admiral and Oceanographer with Annual Conservation Award at Blue Whale Gala."
  24. ^ "Congratulations to the 2016 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients!" Archived 2016-06-08 at the Wayback Machine The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, May 7, 2016. Accessed May 9, 2016
  25. ^ "President Emeritus Paul Gaffney Inducted into Naval Oceanography Hall of Fame"
  26. ^ "Naval Oceanography Honors First Hall of Fame Inductees, Dedicates New Supercomputers". Archived from the original on 2019-01-30.


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