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

CAPT Banigan hails from Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. In 1989 he earned his commission through the Virginia Military Institute Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
In September of 2011 CAPT Banigan reported to LAKE ERIE having previously served on the Chief of Naval Operations’ (OPNAV) staff in Resources, Requirements & Assessments Directorate, Surface Warfare Division, as Deputy for Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and Aegis Ashore Branch Head. In this capacity, working closely with Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and industry partners, he authored the vision and defined the evolution of Navy’s Aegis BMD capability for ashore emplacement and subsequently, Navy and MDA memorandums of agreement defining responsibilities of Navy’s BMD capabilities, from Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) to Aegis BMD. During his tenure at OPNAV he served as Chairman to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Maritime Capability Group One, Above Horizon Sensors.
In 2007 he assumed command of USS JOHN S. McCAIN (DDG 56), a continuously forward deployed Aegis BMD-capable destroyers, homeport Yokosuka, Japan. Under his command “Big Bad John” as JOHN S. McCAIN was appropriately dubbed, 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!
CAPT Banigan’s other sea tours include Executive Officer, USS RUSSELL (DDG 59), where he conducted Aegis BMD testing. Earlier he served as Commissioning Engineer, USS O’KANE (DDG 77); 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 U.S. flagship for Standing Naval Forces Atlantic, and conducted many other 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 and Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies at Naval War College. Subsequently, he studied as a Massachusetts Institute of Technology fellow with focus on Foreign Relations, International Relations and National Interests.
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