2017 Scott O'Neil

Scott O’Neil played key roles on the Anti-Submarine Rocket (ASROC), the Tomahawk Cruise Missile and many other programs. His role has been critical to developing, promoting and protecting the concept of kill chains. He has been a tireless advocate for development of the workforce for precision strike. His technical contributions advanced state of the art in propulsion and integrated warfare. Our warfighters will continue to enjoy the fruit of his work for years to come.

In his early career, he chose to work with rockets, and quickly assumed significant engineering roles in solid rocket propulsion, thrust vector control and warheads. Working on ASROC, and then Tomahawk, his work with complex systems helped position Scott as a bridge across technical disciplines and organizational boundaries.

As he progressed into management, he remained an advocate for excellence, and mentored young engineers. He carefully explained context to stakeholders, without regard to who they worked for. He took pains to see challenging assignments went to those in their formative years, not just to the most senior talent.

He supported Tomahawk throughout his career. He championed Synthetic Guidance Tomahawk. By continuously updating the aim point of Tomahawk during its flight to a moving ship target, this effort proved feasible without modifying the Tomahawk weapons system. Tomahawk was one of the systems which were the foundation of the Cruise Missile Association, PSA’s predecessor.

Synthetic Guidance illustrates his deep understanding of networked strike, or “the kill chain.” It also highlights his credibility as a technologist. He was the critical spokesperson building consensus among Navy leadership to support the effort. 

Scott’s influence as a mentor and educator is evidenced by people who spoke of his influence on individual engineers and workers, both in the Navy, and in industry. He shaped both congressional language and Navy policy to ensure the technical contributors in government have the chance to hone their skills,

He retired from civilian service in 2016 after 43 years with the Navy. During the last decade, he was Executive Director and Director for Research and Engineering of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake, California. The Center is responsible for research, development, test, evaluation, and in-service engineering for weapon systems. He directed a technical civilian workforce of more than 5000.

The large number of awards Scott has received is evidence of his influence. He was selected by MIT as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. He received many command awards for engineering and management excellence. including the Naval Meritorious and Superior Civilian Service Awards, and the Meritorious SES Presidential Rank Award from President Bush in 2007.

In January 2016, Scott received the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the highest honorary award the Secretary of the Navy can confer on a Department of the Navy civilian employee.

The Precision Strike Association is proud to add the 2017 Richard H. Johnson award to these honors.
October 25 , 2017