Admiral Hyman Rickover personally revolutionized naval warfare and altered the outcome of the Cold War. Concurrently he drove innovation into American industry -- which in the decades since has proven to be a wellspring of power for American technology. As a touchstone of his success, during Rickover's stewardship the Russians had literally dozens of reactor accidents, but Rickover's single-minded focus on safety protected Americans as well as and our lands from nuclear contamination.
Rickover did all of this initially by the force of his own personality and eventually by insisting on radical culture change. The author had the good fortune to personally know and be involved with Admiral Rickover as well as many of the most interesting players and protagonists during much of this thirty year process of wrenching cultural upheaval. The author leaves detailed biographical details of Rickover to others, instead focusing on previously unknown historical events in which he personally participated or had unique knowledge which highlight the management and leadership principles behind Rickover's achievements and place important events (President Eisenhower choosing nuclear submarines to counter Sputnik, development of the Polaris Fleet, the relationship of Admirals Zumwalt and Rickover, the loss of USS Scorpion, the superiority of the American submarines over the Soviet fleet, etc.) in an historical perspective.
Because of his life's work, the author is uniquely qualified to apply many of Rickover's principles to other situations. For example, Dave well understands the particular navy culture Rickover had to destroy for the author began his own career on a diesel boat. Similarly since the author spent a decade in US industry as either the Chief Executive Officer or the Chief Operating Officer, he understands how to identify situations where Rickover's principles can be applied to industry circumstances. This is done at the end of each chapter in the book, thus providing a starting point for any who wish to use this source for case studies.
Dave Oliver's diverse career has included extensive experience in government and industry as well as the military. He served the Clinton Administration as Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and the Bush Administration in Iraq as the Director of Management and Budget for the Coalition Forces. In industry Dave was the CEO of the EADS, North America Defense Company as well as Chief Operating Officer of the main American organization. He was an executive at Northrop Grumman and at Westinghouse. Dave spent thirty-two years in the navy, retiring as a Rear Admiral (Upper Half). He served at sea aboard both diesel-electric and nuclear submarines, commanded a nuclear submarine as well as the submarine groups in Japan and a second in San Diego; and served as Chief of Staff of the Seventh Fleet. His final military tour was as Principal Deputy to the civilian Navy Acquisition Executive. Dave's military decorations include the Defense and Navy Distinguished Service Medals as well as six awards of the Legion of Merit. His awards for public service include two Department of Defense Awards for Distinguished Public Service, and similar awards from the Departments of the Army and the Navy. Dave's undergraduate training was from the United States Naval Academy. He subsequently received a Master of Arts in Political Science and International Affairs (specializing in the Middle East) from American University. He is also the author of Making It in Washington which deals with serving as a political appointee, as well as his wife's biography, Wide Blue Ribbon, and an earlier leadership book, Lead On.