Among the first staffers tapped for Operation Warp Speed, Maj. Doug Meyer ’09 & M’13 has helped the race to vaccinate the country against COVID-19
BY SEAN MARKEY
NORWICH RECORD | Spring 2021
A year ago, Army Maj. Doug Meyer ’09 & M’13 didn’t expect to have a ringside seat to one of the most ambitious vaccination efforts in U.S. history, let alone an active role.
But in May 2020, the career infantry officer was among the first 16 people tapped for Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s federal effort to develop and distribute a vac¬cine to safeguard the country against COVID-19.
Based at the Department of Health and Human Services headquarters in Washington, D.C., Meyer has worked shoulder to shoulder with experts in vaccine research, infectious disease, epidemiology, public health, logistics, and other fields drawn from an array of federal agencies, private industry, and the Department of Defense.
“We’ve come to work every day focused on the science and driving toward the end state,” Meyer says. While the goal has drawn mercifully closer, it has now entered a critical phase of getting shots in arms.
Meyer’s official job title is technically chief of operations, but the Norwich alumnus likens the role to a non-shooting point guard. His job is often about catching a request for information or a problem that needs solving and finding the right person on the team downcourt to address it.
He also oversees the program’s vaccine operations center, a “command-and-control hub for information,” relaying and synthesizing data to help senior leaders make decisions.
“Every one of us realizes that we’re living a line of our obituary, and that this is an important and historic effort,” Meyer says.
The 12-year Army officer brings diverse experience to his role. A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Meyer is a former cybersecurity policy strategic planner and a trained speechwriter, who has served as a staff intern with the Joint Chiefs. He also holds two master’s degrees: one in organizational leadership from Norwich, the second in policy management from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.
Throughout, Meyer says the lessons he learned on the Hill over a dozen years ago as a cadet and history and English double major continue to resonate.
“[They] carry throughout my career,” he says. “Lessons like being ready when the time comes, preparing, showing up to do hard work, being ready to hustle,” he says. “You’re checking your ego at the door and just being ready to be part of a team.”