The Air Force Association Board of Directors have approved Craig R. McKinley, the 26th Chief of the National Guard Bureau, as the next AFA President. McKinley will be succeeding Michael M. Dunn, who retired after completing his term in the five-year position.
“The AFA Search Committee conducted an exhaustive search for the right person to be our next president,” said Sandy Schlitt, AFA Chairman of the Board. “Craig’s long service in key AFA leadership positions – at the chapter, state and region levels – is a plus for the entire organization. The board was unanimous in approving Craig, and I am confident that he will further the accomplishments and achievements of this organization.”
As AFA’s top staff executive, McKinley will direct the association’s professional staff in all functional areas and be responsible for the management and operations of the association, which include professional development events across the country and countless aerospace educational initiatives. He will also hold the position of publisher of Air Force Magazine, the official journal of the association.
McKinley retired as a four-star general September 7. In addition to serving as the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, he 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.
McKinley received his commission in 1974 as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at Southern Methodist University. He has served in numerous assignments in flying and operations, as well as command positions at group, wing, sector and field operating agency levels. His assignments include Commander, 1st Air Force, Air Combat Command, and Commander, Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. He has served as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and Director, Mobilization and Reserve Affairs Directorate, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany.
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.
“I feel very fortunate to have been selected to lead AFA, as this association has always had a strong culture with important missions,” said McKinley. “As this nation faces hard decisions in the near future, it will continue to need associations like AFA to promote national security and defense. I look forward to building upon the sturdy foundation and accelerating the momentum that in already in place at AFA, while preserving the heritage and attributes that have gotten AFA to where it is today.”
The Air Force Association is a non-profit, independent, professional military and aerospace education association. Our mission is to promote a dominant United States Air Force and a strong national defense, and to honor airmen and our Air Force Heritage.