Capt. Joseph W. Swaykos, Chairman of the GCOOS Board of Directors, is a native of Bloomfield New Jersey. A graduate of Bloomfield High School, Capt. Swaykos entered the U.S. Naval Academy in July of 1972 and graduated with a B.S. in Oceanography in June 1976.
Capt. Swaykos served in the U.S. Navy for 28 years following his four years at Annapolis. He started as an Unrestricted Line Officer sailing on USS Badger (FF-1071) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He was then selected for attendance at the Naval Postgraduate School where he earned Masters Degrees in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography. He continued his service as a Navy Oceanographer (Restricted Line Officer Community) and served in several sea tours and key shore assignments. His last three tours of duty included serving as Deputy Oceanographer of the Navy (Washington D.C.), Commanding Officer of Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (Monterey CA), and Chairman of the Oceanography Department at his alma mater. He also earned Masters Degrees in Systems Management and in National Security and Strategy from the University of Southern California and the Naval War College, respectively.
Capt. Swaykos retired from active duty in 2004 and accepted a position with the University of Southern Mississippi, where he served as the Director of the Center of Higher Learning and Immersive Visualization Center at Stennis Space Center. Additionally, he was selected as a Fellow in the American Meteorological Society in 2007 and was selected to represent the University of Southern Mississippi in the statewide Leadership Mississippi program. He also served as Chairman of the Outreach and Education Council for the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS).
Capt. Swaykos retired from USM in 2012 and assumed the duties of Mission Control Center Branch Chief at the National Data Buoy Center. In 2016, he was designated as Chief Scientist at NDBC and retired in 2018. He has served on the GCOOS Board of Directors since 2012, including terms as Secretary, Vice Chair and Chair.