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Vice Admiral William Merz, USN (Ret.)

Vice Admiral Bill Merz is the Vice President of Aerospace and Defense Technologies for Oceaneering International. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves in several defense industry advisory positions.

Adm. Merz retired from the US Navy in December 2022, having served in three positions as a three-star admiral: Commander of US Seventh Fleet and Chief Requirements Officer and Chief Operating Officer in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. He also served as senior Navy liaison for the Australia-United Kingdom-US (AUKUS) Defense Initiative, commanded three task forces (CTF-54, 74, 77), and led UN Security Operations in the East China Sea. He authored Navy and Marine Corps warfighting concepts and maritime elements of the National Defense Strategy, the Nuclear Posture Review, and the Navy’s “Blue Arctic.”

A career US Navy submariner, Adm. Merz commanded the nuclear Deep Submergence Vessel NR-1, the attack submarine USS Memphis, and Submarine Development Squadron 12. Over the course of 12 global deployments, his crews earned 8 unit awards and 5 Battle Effectiveness awards. His ship was recognized as the top ship in the fleet and completed the fastest-ever under-ice polar transit.

Adm. Merz earned a Bachelor of Science in ocean engineering from the US Naval Academy. He also earned master’s degrees from the Catholic University of America and the US Naval War College. He completed Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Seminar XXI and the US Navy Strategic Thinking program at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.