Vice Adm. Stuart Munsch, a native of North Dakota, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. At Annapolis, he was brigade commander of his class and an All-American and national champion pistol shooter. Selected for a Rhodes Scholarship, he attended Oxford University and earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
He then was assigned to four consecutive sea duty assignments, serving on USS Will Rogers (SSBN 659), USS Jefferson City (SSN 759), USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) on the staff of Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group 5, and USS Tucson (SSN 770). In 1999, Munsch reported ashore to U.S. Pacific Command, where he served in the Plans and Policy Directorate (J5) prior to becoming deputy executive assistant to the commander. He then was selected for a White House Fellowship and served as special assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture.
Munsch commanded USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) from 2002 to 2005, followed by duty in the Pentagon as the military assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and then as executive assistant to the Director, Submarine Warfare, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV N87).
Munsch commanded Submarine Development Squadron (DEVRON) 5 from 2008 to 2010 and then returned to the Pentagon to head the Navy Strategy branch (OPNAV N513). Selected for flag rank, he was reassigned as Deputy Director, Undersea Warfare (OPNAV N97).
Sent overseas to Japan and Bahrain, Munsch commanded Submarine Group 7 and Task Forces 74 and 54 from 2013 to 2015, followed by duty in the Pentagon as the senior military assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. In 2017 Munsch reported to OPNAV N3/N5 as the Assistant and in 2018 became the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy. In 2019 he established and served as the initial Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development, N7. He assumed his role as Director for Joint Force Development (J7) in 2020.
Munsch is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI fellow and recipient of the U.S. Navy League's Decatur Award for operational excellence. His awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (five awards), and several unit awards shared with shipmates.