Keating, a native of Dayton, Ohio, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1971. Following duty aboard USS Mason (DD 852) in the western Pacific, he completed flight training in August 1973. He was ordered to VA-82, deploying twice to the Mediterranean aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68). In September 1978, he reported to VA-122, NAS Lemoore, Calif., and subsequently served with Commander, Carrier Air Wing 15 as Staff Landing Signal Officer, deploying to the western Pacific/Indian Ocean aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63). From May 1982 to July 1984, as Administrative Officer, Operations Officer and Maintenance Officer with VA-94, he deployed twice to the western Pacific aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65). His next assignment was Aide and Flag Lieutenant to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command.
In May 1987, Keating assumed command of VFA-87 and deployed with CVW-8 aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) to the North Atlantic and to the Mediterranean. After his tour with VFA-87, he was assigned to the Naval Military Personnel Command in Washington, D.C., where he served as Head of the Aviation Junior Officer Assignments Branch. He reported as Deputy Commander, Carrier Air Wing 17 in January 1991, participating in combat operations in support of Operation Desert Storm from USS Saratoga (CV 60).
Keating next served as a Chief of Naval Operations Fellow with the Strategic Studies Group in Newport, R.I. Following duty with the Joint Task Force Southwest Asia in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, he deployed as Deputy Commander, Carrier Air Wing 9 aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) to the Arabian Gulf. He assumed command of CVW-9 in July 1993. In November 1994, Admiral Keating reported to NAS Fallon, Nev., as Commander, Naval Strike Warfare Center.
Keating returned to the Naval Military Personnel Command in September 1995 as Director, Aviation Officer Distribution Division. He served as the Deputy Director for Operations (Current Operations/J33), Operations Directorate, the Joint Staff, Washington, from August 1996 until June 1998. He assumed command of Carrier Group 5 home ported in Yokosuka, Japan, in June 1998. In September 2000, Keating reported to OPNAV in Washington as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy and Operations (N3/N5). In February 2002, he assumed command of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet. From October 13, 2003 to October 21, 2004,
Keating served as the Director, Joint Staff. Keating assumed command of North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command on November 5, 2004. He assumed command of U.S. Pacific Command March 23, 2007.