Vice Adm. Bill Merz is a native of San Diego, California. He is a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering. He has since earned Master’s degrees from The Catholic University of America and U.S. Naval War College.
Merz qualified in submarines as a junior officer aboard USS Haddo (SSN 604). He served as engineer officer aboard USS Boise (SSN 764) and as radiological controls officer aboard USS Proteus (AS 19). He commanded the nuclear powered Deep Sea Vessel “Submarine NR-1”, the attack submarine USS Memphis (SSN 691), and Submarine Development Squadron 12. Ashore, he conducted submarine design research in Carderock, Maryland, completed two tours in the Pentagon as a budget programmer on both the Navy Staff (N80) and Joint Staff (J8), served as head of the Naval Reactors “Line Locker”, and served as chief-of-staff for Commander, Submarine Forces Atlantic, Task Force 144.
His flag assignments included commander, Naval Mine & Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC) and Task Force 77 in San Diego, California; commander, Task Force 54 in Bahrain; commander, Task Force 74 in Japan; and, director, Undersea Warfare Division (OPNAV N97) in the Pentagon. He assumed his current Pentagon assignment as deputy chief of naval operations for Warfare Systems (OPNAV N9) in August, 2017. In this capacity, he is the Navy’s lead requirements officer for land, surface, undersea, and air domains, special programs, accelerated acquisition, and urgent operational needs.
Through the course of nine overseas deployments, Merz conducted the full spectrum of submarine operations in support of U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Central Command, and U.S. Africa Command. The crews he served with collectively earned six unit awards, five Battle “E”s, and the Atlantic Fleet’s “Battenberg Cup”.