Rear Admiral Kenneth J. Braithwaite, United States Navy (Retired) was nominated by the President of the United States to serve as the 31st U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway. On Thursday, February 8, 2018, Kenneth J. Braithwaite presented his credentials to Norway’s Head of State, His Majesty King Harald V, and was thereby formally accredited as U.S. Ambassador to Norway.
Ambassador Braithwaite recently concluded his service as the Regional Chief Executive of VHA/Vizient MidAtlantic and New England, LLC a member-owned hospital group purchasing organization serving hospitals and health systems throughout the greater eastern seaboard. He assumed those duties in November of 2011 and since joining the organization tripled it in size initially merging the former regions of VHA East Coast, LLC with VHA Pennsylvania, LLC. In 2014 he completed the current construct of the enterprise by leading the merger of VHA Empire-Metro, LLC into the greater VHA Mid-Atlantic Region. He is most proud of the fact that this division has gone from last to first in overall sales revenue as well as both member satisfaction and employee satisfaction among all divisions of the company during this short period of time.
Ambassador Braithwaite is a 1984 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland and the first of his class selected for flag rank after only 21 years of active service. Qualified as a Naval Aviator, he flew anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions tracking Soviet submarines throughout the Northern and Western Pacific and Indian Ocean regions as part of Patrol Squadron 17 and Patrol Wing 2. Other assignments during his military career included serving as a Special Assistant in the Office of Legislative Affairs, U.S. Senate Liaison Office Capitol Hill; Director of Public Affairs aboard the aircraft carrier USS America (CV-66) with additional duty to the Commander Carrier Group Two and Commander, Striking Force Sixth Fleet where he operated above the Arctic Circle; Chief of Public Affairs, to the Commander of Naval Base Philadelphia during the White House Base Closure Commission; Commanding Officer of Navy Combat Camera Command, deploying with this command as part of the initial invasion into Iraq in 2003; Director Joint Public Affairs Expeditionary Command, US Joint Forces Command; Chief of Strategic Communications to the US Ambassador, Islamabad, Pakistan with additional duty to the Commander, Combined Forces Command/ISAF, Afghanistan; and finally as Vice Chief of Information for the United States Navy.
During periods of inactive service, Ambassador Braithwaite served as Manager of Operations, Atlantic Richfield Chemical Inc.; Executive Director & Senior Advisor to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, (R-PA); Vice President of Government Affairs, for Ascension Health the largest healthcare system in the United States and Executive Director, Delaware Valley Healthcare Council, Philadelphia. He received his graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Fels School of Government. While a graduate student, Admiral Braithwaite was elected as a Councilman within the County of Delaware, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was Chairman of the Planning Commission for which he was responsible for zoning issues. Admiral Braithwaite has also completed additional graduate work at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island as well as courses at the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama. Admiral Braithwaite has been awarded the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V” for valor based on his actions in the Iraqi theater of operations. He has also been awarded the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (4 awards), Navy Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon in addition to several other campaign medals and ribbons.
An avid sailor, sportsman and amateur historian, Ambassador Braithwaite is married to the former Melissa Losito of Marlton, New Jersey. They have two children, Grace Anne and Harrison and before moving to Norway, they resided in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania at “Twin Magnolias” a home built in 1741 and used by British General Lord Cornwallis as his staff quarters during the Battle of Brandywine in 1777.