General Lester Lyles retired from the United States Air Force after a distinguished 35 year career, most recently as Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Prior to that he served as Air Force Vice Chief of Staff and Chief Technology Officer, and Director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization at the Department of Defense.
He is a senior executive with over 26 years experience running large, high-technology organizations involved in aeronautical and astronautical research, development, acquisition and logistics. Gen. Lyles is a director of General Dynamics Corp., Board of Battelle, and KBR Corp., previously serving as Chair of the board of United Services Automobile Association and on the board of directors for Precision Castparts Corp. He is Chairman of the NASA Advisory Council, a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineers in 2011. Gen. Lyles also previously Chaired the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Academy of Engineering. Lyles also served as a member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board in the White House, the Defense Science Board, and the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) in the State Department.
His awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal and Legion of Merit. Lyles received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Howard University. He received a master’s degree in mechanical/nuclear engineering, as well as honorary doctors of laws, from New Mexico State University and Urbana University.