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Who am I?

I was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and raised in Yauco in the Villas del Cafetal community. I studied at the Luis Muñoz Marín Public School and then went on to the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, where I obtained my bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering. 

During my time at the university, I also enlisted in military service, in the United States Marine Corps (USMC). 

I hold a Master of Science in Systems Engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). I graduated from the United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island; the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidates School; the United States Navy's Senior Officer Engineering Service School; and the United States Office of Personnel Management's Federal Executive Institute. 

Currently, I am a Captain in the United States Navy Reserve (U.S. Navy) where I lead the Diving, Salvage, and Heavy Lift Group of the Naval Sea Systems Command. Previously, I commanded units of the United States Navy's Office of Naval Research, as well as the Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Diving Group until December 2019. 

In addition to my military service, I have held executive positions in the Federal Government, where I currently serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. From 2016 to 2018, I was the Regional Director and Diplomat in Science and Technology at the United States Embassy in Santiago, Chile, and Executive Administrator of the International Cooperation and Asymmetric Warfare programs in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. 

In 2019, I served my people of Puerto Rico as Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and later as Secretary of State, until August 2020. During my time as Secretary of Public Safety, I achieved significant advancements, such as empowering the department in less than a year, working on the backlog of autopsies at the Bureau of Forensic Sciences, securing salary increases for our police and firefighters, as well as social security for the Puerto Rico Police, among other achievements. 

As Secretary of State, I played a key role in responding to earthquakes in the southern part of the Island and led coordination efforts during the pandemic. I also reorganized the structure of the Department of State and positioned the agency as a liaison between the Executive branch and legislators. 

I am honored to have received numerous decorations throughout my career, including medals from the United States Department of the Navy's Civil Service Meritorious Service, the Military Star Medal of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Chile, and the United States Navy and NASA's RADM William S. Parsons Award for technological entrepreneurship, among others. 

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