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Who’s Who in Defense: Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Navy – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense

Carlos Del Toro



  • Carlos Del Toro was confirmed as the 78th Secretary of the Navy on August 7.
  • The Department of the Navy consists of both the Navy and the Marine Corps, and is responsible for the welfare of more than 900,000 sailors, marines, reservists, and civilian personnel. In his new position, Del Toro will be working closely with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin and Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks. 


Stated Priorities

  • Del Toro arrives at the Pentagon during a time when the Navy is looking to develop a long-term strategic plan that keeps pace with China’s increasingly sophisticated naval technologies. As Navy Secretary, Del Toro will be addressing how to best balance readiness with modernization priorities.
  • Evaluate the Navy’s three, major modernization programs: a new class of nuclear-powered submarines; a new destroyer; and a 6th generation fighter plane. 
  • Examine Navy operations, research and development programs, and ship-building plans in order to align with Congressional funding. The Navy’s fiscal 2022 budget request is $211.7 billion.
  • Del Toro supports the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which calls for fielding a 355-ship Navy by 2030, but believes that maintaining “capability and lethality” will require more than merely “numbers of platforms.” 
  • Invest in new capabilities and technologies such as hypersonics, missile technology, cybersecurity and computing power. 
  • Create a working, naval strategy for the Indo-Pacific region, in keeping with the military’s shift away from the Middle East. This includes defending Taiwan should China attempt to take control of the island.
  • Address the threats posed by climate change.



  • “The climate crisis demands U.S. Navy investment precisely because it exacerbates every other challenge our Navy faces, including great power competition,” he said during the Senate confirmation hearing in July.
  • “Already, installation resilience is an issue, with vital installations facing threats from rising sea levels. Building energy and environmental resilience into our installations will make them more combat effective.”


Areas of Expertise

  • A retired Navy commander, Del Toro brings an expertise in military operations, space systems engineering, program management, information technology, and legislative affairs.


Professional/Military Career

  • Founded SBG Technology Solutions in 2004, after retiring from military service. The Alexandria, VA-based firm offers program management and engineering services to both federal and private sector clients in the areas of IT modernization, cybersecurity, space systems, and health and training, among others.  
  • During a 22-year Navy career that spanned multiple appointments and tours of duty, Del Toro served on destroyers, a cruiser, and an aircraft carrier, deploying to the Mediterranean during the Cold War and to the Persian Gulf during Operation Shield and Storm. 
  • In 1998, he commanded the USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), then America’s newest guided-missile destroyer, which he led through its maiden voyage and first deployment. The vessel was one of the first mixed-gender warships.
  • Serving on Navy shore assignments, Del Toro worked as senior executive assistant to the Director for Program Analysis and Evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and special assistant to the Director and Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget where he helped manage DoD budgets, along with those of the Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the Peace Corps.
  • Commissioned as a surface warfare officer upon his graduation in 1983.





  • U.S. Naval Academy, B.S. in aerospace engineering – 1983.
  • Holds an M.S. from the Naval Postgraduate School; an M.A. in national security from the Naval War College; and an M.P.S. in legislative affairs from George Washington University.



  • Carlos Del Toro was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1961. The following year, his family immigrated to the U.S. after his father was released from imprisonment under Fidel Castro and given a 48-hour visa. Arriving in America, the family lived in the west side district of New York City known as Hell’s Kitchen before settling in Queens, NY.
  • “This is a man of enormous, enormous character,” said Senator Mark Warner before the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 13. 
  • Married for 38 years to Betty Del Toro, chief financial officer of SBG Technology Solutions. They have four children, and a granddaughter.



  • The first Hispanic president of the White House Fellows Foundation and Alumni Association.
  • His company, SBG, was awarded the “2020 Small Business Success Story” by the Small Business Administration.
  • Elected to the board of directors of the Stimson Center in 2019.
  • Elected president of the White House Fellows Foundation and Alumni Association in 2018. 

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