Robert J. Passerello
A leader, lawyer, and trusted advisor with extensive experience at the highest levels of the U.S. Government; a veteran who served both at the National Security Council and the Department of Defense
Robert Passerello is a leader, lawyer, and trusted advisor with extensive experience at the highest levels of the U.S. Government; a veteran who served both at the National Security Council and the Department of Defense. Robert Passerello served in the United States Navy, as a Judge Advocate, and the United States Marine Corps, as an infantryman, for a combined thirty-four (34) years before retiring, as a Navy Captain, in 2022. Following retirement Robert immediately joined Netcracker Technologies, a telecommunications software corporation, as their Vice President of Legal Affairs and Head of Global Security. Robert is currently the President of Ares Trident LLC, a national security and cyberspace focused consulting firm and as of July 1st, 2023 has joined the team at Gray Space Strategies as a Senior Advisor.
Robert was born near Boston, Massachusetts yet, raised for nearly half of his childhood in Panama City, Republic of Panama, his mother’s native country, and where his father served in the U.S. Army as a Green Beret.
In 1987, Robert enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where following boot-camp, he served as an Infantryman with 1st Battalion, 25th Marines until his discharge in 1991. Robert graduated from Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, with concentrations in Philosophy and History. His Juris Doctor degree was completed at Western New England University, School of Law, with honors in 1996 and in 2003, he completed studies at the United States Naval War College, with a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. Most recently, in 2015, Robert completed the Master of Sciences program at the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School in National Security and Strategic Resources. During his year at NDU, Robert focused studies related to the Defense Space Industry, China and the conflict in Syria.
After law school, Officer Indoctrination School and initial training at the Naval Justice School (NJS), in March 1997, Robert reported to Navy Legal Service Office (NLSO) Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk, VA. At NLSO Mid-Atlantic he served as detailed Defense Counsel and Claims Assistant Department Head. Following his NLSO tour, Robert reported as the Installation Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) at Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine, where he completed a two-year assignment as the sole legal advisor for the installation and 32 tenant commands. In June 2000, Robert reported to NJS in Newport, RI. Over his three-year tour at NJS, he worked in various capacities, to include as Head of Training, as well as Civil Law and Military Justice Instructor. During this time, Robert frequently supported the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS), as a guest lecturer; conducting nearly 15 missions across Latin American, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
After NJS, Robert was assigned to Navy Personnel Command (NPC) as the JAG Corps’ head for Accessions and Recruitment. In May 2005, Robert departed NPC and subsequently reported as the Staff Judge Advocate to Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group THREE (CESG3). As the operational SJA for CESG3, Robert deployed to the INDO-PACOM and CENTCOM AOR’s, onboard the USS BOXER (LHD 4) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. In August 2007, following his first operational assignment, Robert left ESG3 and joined the staff of the Naval War College (NWC). At the NWC, Robert served as Associate Professor and Operational law advisor to the Navy’s Assist and Assess Team (AAT). The AAT is a deployable training/accreditation team under the College of Operational and Strategic Leadership of the NWC. The AAT supports US Fleet Forces Command in the global accreditation and certification of Fleet Maritime Operation Centers (MOCs).
In June 2009, Robert was reassigned to United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) in the midst of active conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. At USCENTCOM, Robert served in the operational law cell, working maritime law and targeting issues, as well as holding the position of Deputy SJA for Information Operations and Intelligence Law, directly supporting operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and across the Middle East region. Following this assignment at CENTCOM, Robert was assigned as the Navy JAG Corps’ Officer Community Manager (OCM). As OCM, CAPT Passerello worked for the Bureau of Naval Personnel, representing JAG Corps strategic manpower interests related to recruitment, promotions, continuation pay, PG school quotas, as well as force shaping measures ensuring the health of the Navy JAG Corps.
After two years as OCM, Robert was hand-selected and asked to return to USCENTCOM. From 2012 to 2014, Robert worked as the Operational Law Chief and Deputy Staff Judge Advocate of USCENTCOM, touching virtually every operation in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen and the greater Middle East region, under both GEN Mattis and GEN Austin – both of whom would later become Secretaries of Defense. In August 2014, Robert detached from CENTCOM and commenced studies at the National Defense University, where he completed his second National Security related Master’s Degree. Following NDU, in June 2015, Robert was selected as the Executive Assistant (EA) and Special Counsel, to the General Counsel for the Department of the Navy. After working as an EA in the Pentagon, in support of the Secretary of the Navy and the Navy General Counsel, Robert completed a three-year assignment as the Fleet Judge Advocate to U.S. Fleet Cyber Command / TENTH Fleet, the Navy’s primary headquarters for Cyberspace, Signals Intelligence and Space operations.
In August 2019 Robert assumed duties as Commanding Officer of Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) Naval District Washington. As the lead for prosecutions, legal assistance and command services within Navy District Washington, Robert led a team of 50 attorneys, paralegals and support staff in the execution of a critical mission. Following command, Robert screened and was selected to serve as Deputy Legal Advisor to the National Security Council. Robert served during two administrations and supported matters of national policy and law within the NSC’s #Cyber, #Defense, #WMD, #Russia, #SouthAsia, #Africa, and #Western Hemispheres directorates – during a time of extreme volatility. Following Robert’s departure from the NSC in October 2021, Robert became the Navy JAG Corps’ Chief Operations Officer (COO) supervising all manpower, budget, IT, facilities and security operations for a workforce of more than 2500 legal professionals – his last job in the Navy.
After retiring from the U.S. Navy in June 2022, Robert immediately joined Netcracker Technologies during a time of extreme change and volatility due to the Ukraine-Russia war – where nearly 50% of Netcracker’s technical workforce resided. At Netcracker, Robert served as Vice President of Legal Affairs, performing duties as Chief Compliance Officer and Head of Global Cybersecurity. Robert left Netcracker in April of 2023, at which time he established Ares-Trident LLC, a consulting firm dedicated to supporting national security, cyber-security and corporate governance needs of private and governmental organizations. Most recently, Robert is proud to announce he is joining Gray Space Strategies (GSS), as a Senior Advisor. GSS is an established firm dedicated to strategic analysis, partnership and advice related to today’s most critical National Security, Cybersecurity and Corporate governance issues impacting public and private sector clients.
Robert’s personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (four awards), the Joint Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), the Navy Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (four awards) and the Navy Achievement Medal (three awards). He is married to the former Danielle Druia and has two children, Gabrielle (age 26) & Robert, III (age 24).