In its announcement Friday, the Biden administration pointed to Del Toro's nearly 40 years of experience in national security and naval operations, budgeting and acquisition. He served 22 years in the Navy and retired as a commander.
Politico first reported the impending nomination Friday.
Del Toro graduated from Annapolis in 1983 with a degree in electrical engineering and served at sea multiple times, according to a biography on the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation website. His deployments include stints in the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as well as missions to the Mediterranean and Black seas and the Pacific Ocean.
He became the commissioning commanding officer of the then-new destroyer Bulkeley in 1998, the alumni association's website states. This made him the first Latino officer in the U.S. Navy ever to serve as the first captain of an Aegis-capable cruiser or destroyer; he guided the ship through its christening, maiden voyage, commissioning, sea trials and first deployment, according to the bio.
Del Toro, a Cuban immigrant, was born in Havana and came to the United States in 1962, the bio adds.
Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on seapower and projection forces, applauded Del Toro's nomination.
"As we dig into the Navy's budget request and consider our options for building the fleet and capabilities we need, it is critical to have a permanent civilian leader to work with Congress," Courtney said. "If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to working with him to ensure that our Navy and Marine Corps has the support, investment and clear plans needed to meet the challenges ahead of us.
If confirmed, he would be the second Latino Navy secretary in U.S. history; Edward Hidalgo served during the Carter administration.
After leaving the Navy, Del Toro founded the government contracting firm SBG Technology Solutions in 2004.
He and his wife Betty have four children and a granddaughter.