NDIA President and CEO General Craig McKinley, USAF (Ret.) Announces Retirement

Press Release Graphic

ARLINGTON, VA – Today, National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) President and CEO General Craig McKinley, USAF (Ret.), announced he will retire at the end of the year, concluding a two-year term as the leader of the nation’s largest and longest-standing defense industry association.


McKinley served 38 years in the Air Force. His last assignment was as the Chief, National Guard Bureau, where he also served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He left military service as a four-star general and continued to serve in the defense community, as President of the Air Force Association (AFA), and later as NDIA’s President and CEO. He also served as a member of the Secretary of Defense’s Roundtable, and in that capacity, he and his colleagues provided counsel to Defense Secretaries Panetta, Hagel and Carter on a wide range of issues such as manpower, the defense budget, acquisition reform and innovation.


“After 42 years in the Air Force and leading associations that serve as conduits for collaboration between government and industry, the time is right to transfer leadership of NDIA to a new generation and shift my focus to a series of personal and philanthropic endeavors,” said McKinley. “I look forward to working closely with the NDIA Board of Directors as we search for and transition to my successor, and will continue to provide counsel and guidance in issues impacting our defense and national security.”


McKinley took the helm of NDIA in January 2015, and worked vigorously to advance issues for both industry and government during a period of challenging fiscal times in the defense space. During his tenure at NDIA, he has led the development of a new strategic direction, and improved NDIA’s relationships with industry stakeholders and government officials. He has laid the foundation for NDIA to continue to be a leading platform through which leaders in government, industry and academia can collaborate and provide solutions to advance the national security and defense needs of the nation. He departs the organization on extremely strong financial footing, with assets totaling more than 56 million dollars, with 1,600 member companies, 27 nationwide chapters, 36 divisions and 85,000 individual members.


“We have been honored to work alongside Craig for the past two years. He has led a distinguished career, and his vision and leadership have contributed significantly to NDIA’s new strategic direction,” said Sid Ashworth, NDIA Board Chair. “We wish him the absolute best as he transitions into retirement and look forward to his sage counsel as we conduct the search for his successor.” 


Following his retirement, McKinley will continue to serve as an advisor on defense industry and government related issues, and will continue to serve on corporate and nonprofit boards. NDIA has retained Korn Ferry to facilitate its search for a new President and CEO. Inquiries regarding the position can be sent to ndiaceo@kornferry.com.