Colonel Watson graduated from Cornell University in 1991 with a BA in History and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps through the NROTC program.
After completing The Basic School (TBS) and Infantry Officer Course (IOC), he reported to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines in Camp Lejeune, NC where he served as a Platoon Commander and Executive Officer with Company K, completing deployments with the both the 24th and 26th Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU(SOC)).
In 1995, he received orders back to TBS where he served as a Tactics Instructor, and then as an Instructor at IOC.
Returning to Camp Lejeune in 1999, he reported to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines. He served two years as the Weapons Company Commander before assuming duties as the Battalion Operations Officer, completing deployments with the 22nd and 24th MEU(SOC).
In 2002, Col Watson received orders to the Expeditionary Warfare School in Quantico, VA where he served as an Instructor and Faculty Advisor.
In 2006, Col Watson reported to I Marine Expeditionary Force and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Future Operations Planner in the G-3 and with Regimental Combat Team-7. In April 2007, he was transferred to 1st Marine Division where he assumed duties as the G-3 Plans Officer.
In January 2008, Colonel Watson assumed command of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. He led Battalion Landing Team 3/1 on a 31st MEU deployment, and then on a subsequent deployment to Garmsir District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He relinquished command of 3/1 in February 2011 and assumed duties as the Executive Officer for 1st Marine Regiment (rear).
In June 2012, Col Watson reported to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for duty as Senior Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian & Pacific Security Affairs. He was reassigned to the Immediate Office of the Secretary of Defense in May 2013 for duty as Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff.
Col Watson is a graduate of the Marine Corps Summer Mountain Leaders Course, the Amphibious Warfare School, the Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting (Masters, Operational Studies), and the National War College (MS, National Security Strategy).
His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal w/combat distinguishing device, Meritorious Service Medal w/gold star, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/2 gold stars, and Combat Action Ribbon w/gold star.