Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
U.S. Department of Navy
Captain Mark Bruington is the 38th Commanding Officer of the Naval Research Laboratory, assuming command on August 1, 2014. As NRL's Commanding Officer, he directs the activities of approximately 2,500 scientists, engineers, and support personnel in their mission to conduct leading-edge research and provide new technological capabilities to the Navy and Marine Corps. Prior to his assumption of command of NRL, he was the Principal Director, Programs at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency where he led a team charged with DoD humanitarian assistance, building partnership capacity and Foreign Military Training and Equipping U.S. partner nations.
Captain Bruington, a native of California, received his commission through the Aviation Officer Candidate School program after graduating from San Francisco State University with a B.S. in Physics. He received his Wings of Gold at NAS Beeville, TX, in 1992 and is a graduate of the United States Naval Test Pilot School, Class 117, in 2000. He also holds an M.S. in Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and an M.S. in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF).
His sea tours include an assignment in the A-6 Intruders with the VA-165, "The Boomers," aboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68) in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. Following the decommissioning of the A-6E, Captain Bruington transitioned to the F-14 Tomcat. He next reported to VF-11, "The Red Rippers," aboard the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) for her maiden, around-the-world cruise; again in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. Following the events of September 11th, Captain Bruington joined VF-211, "The Fighting Checkmates," again aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74), in the initial phases of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, where he led numerous strikes in support of coalition troops in Afghanistan. Following his Department Head tour in VF-211, CAPT Bruington transitioned to the Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer community.
His shore tours include attendance at United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS), and upon graduation, he reported to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) as the squadron's Safety Officer and F-14 project officer. At VX-23 he worked on numerous F-14 and F/A-18 A-F projects including F-14 digital flight controls systems, envelope expansion and LANTIRN pod integration. His next shore assignment was as the senior fixed wing instructor at USNTPS where he led curriculum development and was integral in the introduction of the F/A-18 Hornet out-of-control flight syllabus implemented at all F/A-18 Fleet Replacement Squadrons. He next spent three years in the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program office as the Vehicle Systems Integrated Product Team (IPT) lead. He was responsible for developing the F 35 A/B/C flight controls, propulsion integration, aircraft subsystems and all aircrew systems. He led his IPT through three F 35 Preliminary Design Reviews (PDRs) and Critical Design Reviews (CDRs); directly leading to the flight clearances and first flights of the F 35A Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) and F 35B Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variants. Following this tour, he attended ICAF where he earned distinguished graduate honors. Following his tour at ICAF, he was assigned as the "Deputy CAG," as part of the OPNAV N88 staff, responsible for development of requirements and budget submissions for all Naval tactical aircraft, E-2/C-2, unmanned combat air systems and weapons programs across the Naval Aviation Enterprise. Following his tour on the Navy staff, CAPT Bruington next served as the Deputy Program Manager for the F/A-18 E/F & EA-18G air vehicle and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F programs as part of Program Manager AIR (PMA) 265 in NAS Patuxent River, MD. He led a diverse team of over 1,000 government and industry professional to execute a $2.7B annual budget, delivering 40-plus Super Hornets and Growlers to the fleet each year. He was also instrumental in the final delivery of all 24 F/A-18F aircraft to the RAAF.
Captain Bruington has flown more than 70 combat missions above Iraq and Afghanistan, flown 41 different types of aircraft while amassing 3,200 flight hours and over 500 carrier-arrested landings. His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, four Air Medals (Strike/Flight), and numerous personal, campaign, and unit level awards.