The passing of retired Rear Admiral Wayne E. Meyer, the father of the Aegis weapon system, and George Steinbrenner, principal owner and manager of the New York Yankees—as discussed in last month’s Proceedings—brought into focus some common strengths shared by these two titans: They both took troubled organizations mired in mediocrity and built them into highly successful, world-class teams that delivered excellence—at sea and in the ballpark. And their legacies for the nation go well beyond the U.S. Navy and major league baseball, respectively. Their management styles offer lessons for the Navy and for the nation in the area of ballistic-missile defense (BMD).
The current Aegis anti-air warfare (AAW) and BMD “teams”—of Navy and Department of Defense, service and contractor, shore-based and seagoing components—are built on decades of tradition, culture, and practices that have, over many years, produced effective systems that are at sea and operational today. This record of excellence is based on several factors: