General Gustave Perna (Ret.)
Gus Perna, the visionary leader and logistician behind the nation’s COVID-19 response, shares the principles of leadership, teamwork, strategic planning, secure operations, and supply chain mastery that helped his team orchestrate the largest, safest, and most rapid vaccine deployment effort in global history.
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Before he was named to co-lead the U.S. government’s COVID-19 response in 2020 with Operation Warp Speed, General Gus Perna served as head of the U.S. Army Materiel Command where he managed redistribution of critical munitions to the Pacific and fixed the Army’s housing crisis. As Commander of the Philadelphia Defense Supply Center, he was responsible for the fighting force’s global supply chain.
One of the military’s most skilled and most senior logisticians, General Perna worked to build manufacturing capacity and the end-to-end supply chain needed to get vaccines distributed “at warp speed.” Leveraging public-private partnerships, he accelerated the operation beyond what anyone thought possible—all while the vaccines were still in development.
General Perna retired from the U.S. Army in August of 2021 after 38 years of distinguished service in which he was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Defense Superior Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit, and Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. In 2021, the association of Business Executives for National Security honored him with the Eisenhower Award.
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