Commander Derek Rader is a native of Springfield, Missouri raised in Kansas. He was commissioned via the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program after graduating from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science in Business Accounting in 2002. CDR Rader holds a Master of Science in Information Warfare Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School and received his Joint Professional Military Education Phase 1 with distinction.
After attending Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport, Rhode Island, CDR Rader served at sea as the Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer in USS VELLA GULF (CG 72) and completed a 5TH Fleet deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom prior to reporting to USS McFAUL (DDG 74) as the Training Officer. CDR Rader served as the Weapons and Combat Systems Officer as a commissioning member of USS SPRUANCE (DDG 111). His most recent at-sea assignment was Executive Officer onboard USS DECATUR (DDG 73). During this assignment, he completed a 5TH Fleet and surge deployment.
Ashore, CDR Rader served as the Naval Weapons Technical Liaison and Deputy Department Head for Functional Integration at the Center for Surface Combat Systems headquarters in Dahlgren, Virginia and N3/7 Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) lead at Surface and Mine Warfare Development Center headquarters after completion of the IAMD Warfare Tactics Instructor program.
Personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals, various unit and campaign ribbons, including four Battle Efficiency awards, and the Distinguished Pistol Shot badge.