NDIA Names Retired Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley its New President and CEO
The National Defense Industrial Association announced Nov. 18 that retired Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley will be the association’s next president and CEO, effective Jan. 1.
McKinley is currently president of the Air Force Association, a role he assumed Oct. 1, 2012. McKinley succeeds current NDIA President and CEO Larry Farrell who announced his retirement after serving in that capacity since 2001.
McKinley, a 38-year-veteran of the Air Force, retired as the first four-star chief of the National Guard Bureau, where he also served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“The board conducted an extensive search for the most qualified individual to serve as our next president and CEO,” said NDIA Chairman Arnold Punaro.
“With Gen. McKinley, we will have the leadership in place to help introduce a new era at NDIA. In addition to his outstanding military career — which included leading the National Guard during a period when they were extensively committed to combat operations overseas as well as major disaster relief operations at home — he brings a successful track record leading a large defense and aerospace association. Craig is well-known and highly respected by Congress, the executive branch and industry,” Punaro added.
McKinley received his commission in 1974 as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at Southern Methodist University. He served in numerous assignments in flying and operations, as well as command positions at group, wing, sector and field operating agency levels. He was a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours, primarily in the T-38, F-106, F-16 and F-15. Additionally, he has been pilot in command in the C-131 and C-130 operational support airlift aircraft.
His assignments included commander of the 1st Air Force, Air Combat Command and commander of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.
He served as the assistant deputy chief of staff for plans and programs at the Air Force headquarters, in Washington, D.C., and director of the mobilization and reserve affairs directorate at U.S. European Command, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany.
As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he was a military adviser to the president, the secretary of defense, the National Security Council and was the Department of Defense’s official channel of communication to the governors and to state adjutants general on all matters pertaining to the National Guard.
Among his military decorations are the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster; Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit; Meritorious Service Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters; Air Force Commendation Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters; Air Force Achievement Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters; Combat Readiness Medal with four bronze oak leaf clusters; and National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star.
McKinley graduated with a Bachelor's degree in business administration at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, in 1974; and received his Master's degree in management and economics, at Webster College, St. Louis, Missouri, in 1979, and at the National War College, National Defense University, in 1995.
McKinley and his wife, Cheryl, reside in Arlington, Virginia.