Lisa Franchetti Takes Helm as Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Second Woman in Position

Adm. Lisa Franchetti assumed the duties of vice chief of naval operations on Friday, as she takes over the role from Adm. William Lescher, who is set to retire. A carrier surface warfare officer, Franchetti was recently head of the J5 Strategic Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff. She first commissioned into the Navy […]

Adm. Lisa Franchetti gets her 4-star shoulder boards attached by her family, during her promotion and change of office ceremony held at the Pentagon, Sept. 2. US Navy Photo

Adm. Lisa Franchetti assumed the duties of vice chief of naval operations on Friday, as she takes over the role from Adm. William Lescher, who is set to retire.


A carrier surface warfare officer, Franchetti was recently head of the J5 Strategic Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff. She first commissioned into the Navy in 1985 through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at Northwestern University, according to her biography.

At sea, Franchetti has served aboard USS Shenandoah (AD-44), USS Monongahela (AO-178), USS Moosbrugger (DD-980), USS Stout (DD-55) and the George Washington Carrier Strike Group.

She commanded USS Ross (DDG-71) and Destroyer Squadron 21 while the DESRON was embarked on USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74). She also was the commander of Pacific Partnership 2010, during which she was embarked on USNS Mercy (T-AH-19).

“It continues to be an honor to serve as a leader in our Navy,” Franchetti said in a Friday news release about the change of command. “My focus remains on supporting the most powerful Navy in the world, ready for the future fight.”

Lescher is retiring after 42 years in the Navy. He served as vice chief of naval operations since May 2020.

He called his time in the position a privilege in the release, adding that he was grateful to get to lead and work with so many sailors during his time in the sea service.

“Our focus has always been on accelerating the Navy’s warfighting advantage by unleashing the power of our people,” Lescher said in the release. “I know that Adm. Lisa Franchetti is the right leader to help guide our Navy to further advantage in this critical decade. She will be exceptional.”

Chief of Naval Operations Gilday said in the release that he is grateful for Lescher’s time in the Navy.

“Bill always led by example, ensuring our warfighting culture is one focused on continuous improvement and teamwork,” Gilday said. “His leadership, guidance and initiatives will positively impact the maritime balance of power for years to come.”

In the release, Gilday highlighted Franchetti’s leadership and commitment to the Navy.

“She demonstrates operational excellence, strong character, diverse perspectives and resilience in all she does – and I look forward to working together to ensure our Navy remains the world’s premier maritime force,” Gilday said.

Franchetti is the second woman to have the number two position in the Navy. Adm. Michelle Howard, who became the first female four-star admiral and first Black woman to hold the position, became the first woman to serve as VCNO in 2014. Howard, who had many firsts in her career, is now leading the Naming Commission, which is in charge of recommending new names for military infrastructure with ties to the Confederacy.

Several defense officials have told USNI News over the last several months that Franchetti is likely to follow Gilday to lead the Navy when he retires in 2023.