Born and raised in the New York City area, Matt Rodakis graduated with degrees in Zoology and History from the George Washington University in 1981, where he joined the United States Navy soon after. After successfully completing Officer Candidate School (OCS) and earning a Commission in 1983, he completed Surface Warfare Officer School and Damage Control Assistant School before reporting to his first ship, the USS King (DDG 41) in Norfolk, Virginia. He served in a number of billets in the Engineering Department and earned his Surface Warfare Officer designation and Engineering Officer of the Watch qualification before receiving orders to his next ship, the USS Lockwood (FF 1064) in Yokosuka, Japan. Matt served as Navigator and Operations Officer, earning his Tactical Action Officer qualification in Lockwood.
Returning to the staff of OCS as a Navigation Instructor and Battalion Officer, Matt earned a Master Training Specialist designation and studied marine science at the University of Rhode Island. He next served as Operations and Combat Systems Officer on the USS Seattle (AOE 3) and as the Senior Operations Officer for Mine Countermeasures Group Two and its NATO staff counterpart. Matt next earned a Master's Degree in National Security and International Affairs at the Naval War College and then reported as Executive Officer of Assault Craft Unit Five (ACU-5) gaining experience in expeditionary warfare operating closely with Marines. His final tour was as an Operational Test Director at Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Command where he conducted evaluations of major ship acquisition programs such as Smart Cruiser, Smart Gator, LPD 17, MHC 51 as well as smaller programs like the HYDRA radio, SQQ-32 mine hunting sonar, and Assault Breeching System. Matt retired from the Navy in 2002.
Matt has ten years experience managing all aspects of AVW test and evaluation (T&E) support to over fifteen Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAP) and non-MDAP DoD and DoN contracts. He has supported critical naval acquisition programs to include aviation-capable ships such as CVN 21, LPD 17 and DDG 1000 as a Senior Military Engineering Analyst. Recognized as an expert in current governing DOD/DON 5000 series directives and instructions, Defense Acquisition policy and procedure, Matt has a thorough knowledge of the technical details associated with integrated, developmental, operational and live-fire testing of complex Acquisition programs, ships/watercraft and their associated equipment. He has hands-on T&E experience with test measurement derivation, test plans, test requirements reviews, test event execution, data collection and analysis, and test report generation and briefings.