Commander Watts enlisted in the U.S. Navy from the state of Delaware in 1998. After completing Fire Controlman ‘A’ School in Great Lakes, IL, he graduated the U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School in 2000. Watts earned a Bachelor of Science in Oceanography and commissioned from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2004. Following graduation, he earned a Master of Science in Oceanographic Engineering jointly from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 2006.
CDR Watts’ first operational assignment was as Ordnance and Gunnery Division Officer in USS WINSTON S. CHURCHILL (DDG-81) homeported in Norfolk, VA from 2007-2009. He deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and was designated as a Surface Warfare Officer.
CDR Watts laterally transferred to the Naval Oceanography community in 2009, where his first Oceanography assignment was in Naval Maritime Forecast Center and Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Pearl Harbor, HI. He served as Command Duty Officer and Maritime Operations Department Head until 2012. There, he earned qualifications as Forecast Duty officer, Ship Routing Officer, and was designated as an Information Warfare Officer.
CDR Watts spent the next four years in Yokosuka, Japan where he served as Operations Department Head in Naval Oceanography Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) Center from 2012-2014 managing multiple deployable teams providing direct environmental support to ASW Commanders. He then served as Staff Oceanographer in Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 and Task Force 70 (CTF-70) from 2014-2016. He completed several patrols in the Western Pacific while embarked in USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN-73) and USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN-76), where he qualified Battle Watch Captain and Force Tactical Action Officer.
Additional assignments include Executive Officer in Naval Oceanography Special Warfare Center, Coronado, CA, and staff oceanographer in Naval Special Warfare Command from 2016-2018. CDR Watts holds the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Oceanography from the Naval Postgraduate School.
Personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Services Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various unit and campaign awards.
CDR Watts married his high school sweetheart, the former Dawn Talley from Dover, DE. They have two children, Jacob and Lila.