Commanding Officer (May 24, 2013 - Present) 
Captain John S. Banigan
Commanding Officer       

The son of a Stock Broker and entrepreneur, Banigan graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1989, received a Bachelor of Science in Physics and was commissioned through the Naval ROTC program. He hails from Mountain Lakes, New Jersey.

In September of 2011 CAPT Banigan reported to LAKE ERIE as Executive Officer having previously served on the Chief of Naval Operations’ staff in Resources, Requirements & Assessments Directorate, Surface Warfare Division, as Deputy for Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and inaugural Aegis Ashore Branch Head. In this capacity, working closely with Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and industry partners, he authored the vision and defined war fighter requirements and evolution of Navy’s Aegis BMD capability for ashore emplacement. As Deputy for BMD he authored and staffed Navy - MDA memorandums of agreement that defined responsibilities, life cycle costs and cost share liabilities ($17.4B/FYDP) of Navy’s ACAT I capabilities Sea-Based X-Band RADAR, Sea-Based Terminal, Aegis BMD (afloat and ashore) and Missile (SM3 and (SM6) capabilities.

In 2007 he assumed command of USS JOHN S. McCAIN (DDG 56), one of four continuously forward deployed Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense-capable destroyers, homeport Yokosuka, Japan. Under his command “Big Bad John” as JOHN S. McCAIN was appropriately dubbed, was assigned and successfully executed the most daunting and complex real world operations from deep in the Yellow Sea to the South China Sea and across the Sea of Japan – most befitting for the namesake. JOHN S. McCAIN was awarded international recognition for saving the lives of eleven Republic of Korea fishermen lost at sea and recovering the air crew of downed B-52 Stratofortress RAIDER 21. In her Theater Security Cooperation roll, Big Bad John served as U.S. flagship for 100th Anniversary of the Great White Fleet (Australia) and King’s Coronation in Tonga.

CAPT Banigan’s other sea tours include Executive Officer, USS RUSSELL (DDG 59) during early ballistic missile testing; Commissioning Chief Engineer, USS O’KANE (DDG 77); Chief Engineer, USS STARK (FFG 31); Fire Control Officer and Combat Information Center Officer, USS INCHON (LPH 12); First Lieutenant and Main Propulsion Assistant, USS FRANCIS HAMMOND (FF 1067); and First Lieutenant, USS BRONSTEIN (FF 1037). During these tours he deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, served as United States flagship for Standing Naval Forces Atlantic, and conducted many real world operations across the globe.

His other ashore tours include Chief of Modernization at Joint Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia; Plank-owner, Operations Officer and Chief Statistician at the Center for Career Development, Naval Personnel Command, Millington, Tennessee; and Professor of Naval Science at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana.

CAPT Banigan has earned a Master of Science in Statistical Analysis at Tulane University, Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies at Naval War College, and served as Massachusetts Institute of Technology fellow with focus on Foreign Relations, International Relations and Nation Interests.
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