About General Craig R. McKinley, U.S. Air Force (Retired)
Based in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, General Craig R. McKinley consults on defense and military transformation and security sector reform. General McKinley brings more than four decades of experience that spans national security, military defense, business strategy, and leadership.
After 38 years in the Air Force, McKinley retired as a four-star general in November 2012. His last assignment was as the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, where he also served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, 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. Following his tenure on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General McKinley continued his services providing national-level leadership for defense reform as the President of the Air Force Association (AFA) from 2012-2014. He was President/CEO of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) from 2014-2017, where he directed the association’s professional staff in all functional areas serving a diverse group of 1650 national Aerospace and Defense companies. In 2017, Gen McKinley was selected by the Secretary of Defense to be National Chair of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) where he currently leads 4,000 volunteer’s nationally in support of business and military education and cooperation efforts.
McKinley is 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. 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 as a distinguished graduate 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 he graduated with a MS degree in National Security Management.