The executive director of the office of the chief of naval personnel in Washington, DC, Patrick O'Connell has been bridging gaps between the business world and the public sector for decades. Over the course of his career, Patrick O'Connell has received multiple commendations and honors, including the U.S. Armed Forces’ Legion of Merit.
Awarded at various levels to chief commanders, commanders, officers, colonels, and legionnaires, the Legion of Merit recognizes exceptionally meritorious conduct that goes above and beyond the satisfactory performance of duties. The U.S. Armed Forces issues this award to active U.S. service members as well as the service personnel of friendly foreign nations.
First proposed in 1937, the Legion of Merit received official confirmation from the United States Congress on July 20, 1942. Colonel Robert Townsend Heard based its distinctive design on the French Legion of Honor. The Legion of Merit consists of a white five-armed cross with ten gold-tipped points and a center that features 13 stars on a field of blue. The cross rests on a green laurel wreath.
Currently chief of naval personnel with the US Navy, Patrick O’Connell is a respected organizational administrator who previously served as UK interim program and strategy director at High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd. At HS2, he oversaw efforts toward establishing a high-speed rail system that will connect Leeds, Manchester, and London. Outside of work, Patrick O’Connell enjoys traveling all over the world and has visited places such as Zimbabwe, where he embarked on an elephant safari.
Zimbabwe maintains a coordinated National Elephant Management Plan that represents a bright spot in the fight against illegal poaching of elephants. With elephants in the country facing potential extinction in the 1980s, officials set a target population of 35,000 elephants, which has been thus far surpassed. In 2014, the population stood at 83,000 elephants.
At the core of Zimbabwe’s unique approach to conservation is the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources, or CAMPFIRE, which allows those living on communal lands to benefit from wildlife conservation by granting them rights to manage the wildlife there. Nevertheless, serious conservation issues still exist, as witnessed by the recent poisoning of 10 elephants by cyanide in the vicinity of Hwange National Park.
The chief of naval personnel for the United States Navy, Patrick O’Connell has more than three decades of public and private senior executive experience.