Press Release

Defense Leaders Gen. David Berger, Adm. Charles Richard Join Johns Hopkins APL as Senior Fellows

Two distinguished military leaders and strategists — Gen. (retired) David Berger and Adm. (retired) Charles “Chas” Richard — have joined the team of Senior Fellows at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland.

Berger, the 38th commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Richard, former commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), bring decades of expertise and experience to APL’s mission to make critical contributions to the nation’s most critical defense and national security challenges.

“During their storied careers, David Berger and Chas Richard strategically led large and complex defense organizations,” said APL Director Ralph Semmel. “David launched innovative operational and technology initiatives focused on strategic challenges facing the Marine Corps, and Chas created initiatives to ensure the superiority and reliability of our nation’s undersea warfare and strategic deterrence programs. Together with our other Senior Fellows, they will strengthen APL’s efforts to safeguard our nation and deliver game-changing innovations to our sponsors.”

As commandant of the Marine Corps, Berger led a strategic initiative called Force Design 2030 aimed at transforming the Corps into a more agile, technologically advanced and modernized force generating new opportunities for creativity and innovation in acquisition. Throughout his service, he led Marines during strategic operations and commanded at every level including the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, in Haiti during Operation Secure Tomorrow and Regimental Combat Team 8 in Fallujah, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also commanded the 1st Marine Division (Forward) in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom; I Marine Expeditionary Force; U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific/Fleet Marine Force, Pacific; and Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

Berger’s staff and joint assignments include assistant division commander of 2nd Marine Division; policy planner in the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate, J5; chief of staff for Kosovo Force headquarters; director of operations in plans, policies and operations at Marine Corps headquarters; and deputy commandant for combat development and integration. His 42 years as a Marine included many awards, notably the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Combat V and a Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

As USSTRATCOM commander, Richard oversaw global command and control of all U.S. forces focused on strategic nuclear deterrence, global strike and the Global Information Grid. USSTRATCOM is one of 11 unified combatant commands under the Department of Defense.

Prior to USSTRATCOM, Richard served as commander of Submarine Forces in Norfolk, Virginia, ensuring the strength of the Navy’s undersea forces. He also served as director of Undersea Warfare at the Pentagon, deputy commander of Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike at USSTRATCOM, and commander of Submarine Group 10 in Kings Bay, Georgia. At sea, Richard commanded the USS Parche and Submarine NR-1, and served on the USS Portsmouth, USS Asheville and USS Scranton.

His staff assignments included executive assistant and naval aide to the undersecretary of the Navy; chief of staff at Submarine Force Atlantic; commander of Submarine Squadron 17 in Bangor, Washington; director of resources on the staff of the undersecretary of defense for policy; squadron engineer on the staff of Submarine Squadron 8; and duty on the staff of the deputy chief of naval operations for submarine warfare. He served as a member of the chief of naval operations’ Strategic Studies Group XXVIII, which examined the integration of uncrewed systems into naval force structure.

Richard retired in 2023 with 41 years of service and honors including two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, a Navy Distinguished Service Medal, a Defense Superior Service Medal, five awards of the Legion of Merit and a Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

Johns Hopkins APL Senior Fellows are distinguished experts in national security and space who work with technical experts at the Laboratory to better inform technology and policy decisions made by U.S. military leaders and senior government officials.