FRANK KENDALL Biography: The Man Who Made the Air Force Stronger

About Frank Kendall Secretary of the Air Force

Name Frank Kendall
Title 26th Secretary of the Air Force
Responsibilities Organizing, training, and equipping the U.S. Air and Space Forces
Education
Bachelor’s Degree 1971, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
Master’s Degree 1972, Aerospace Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.
MBA 1980, C.W. Post Center of Long Island University, Orangeburg, N.Y.
Army War College 1994, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pa.
Juris Doctoris 2004, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.
Career Chronology
1971 – 1982
Active duty U.S. Army officer, various assignments; continued service as U.S. Army Reserve officer, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in January 1999
1982 – 1986 Systems Engineer and later Director, Systems Analysis Office, U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Defense Command, Huntsville, Ala.
1986 – 1988
Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Strategic Defense Systems, U.S. Department of Defense, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
1989 – 1994
Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Tactical Warfare Programs, U.S. Department of Defense, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
1994 – 1996 Vice President for Engineering, Raytheon Company, Herndon, Va.
1997 – 2007 Private consultant
2008 – 2010 Managing Partner, Renaissance Strategic Advisors, Arlington, Va.
2010 – 2012
Principal Deputy Under Secretary and also Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, U.S. Department of Defense, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
2012 – 2017
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, U.S. Department of Defense, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
2017 – 2021 Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress, Washington, D.C.
2017 – 2021 Member of the Board of Directors, Leidos, Inc., Arlington, Va.
2021 – Present Secretary of the Air Force, Department of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.

Frank Kendall Biography

Frank Kendall is the 26th Secretary of the Air Force and oversees the organization, training, and equipping of the U.S. Air and Space Forces.

He is responsible for managing the Department of the Air Force’s annual budget, which exceeds $173 billion, and providing Air and Space forces for global military operations under combatant commanders. Additionally, he takes care of the well-being of around 700,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian Airmen and Guardians, as well as their families.

Mr. Kendall’s extensive experience spans over 50 years, covering engineering, management, defense acquisition, and national security affairs across private industry, government, and the military.

He has worked as a consultant for defense industry firms, non-profit research organizations, and the Department of Defense, focusing on strategic planning, engineering management, and technology assessment. He is also an attorney and has been involved in human rights work on a pro bono basis.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Kendall served as Vice President of Engineering at Raytheon Company, where he managed the engineering functions and internal research and development. He was also a Managing Partner at Renaissance Strategic Advisors, a consulting firm in the aerospace and defense sector.

Within the government, Mr. Kendall held several key positions, including Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, and Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Tactical Warfare Programs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He was a former member of the Army Science Board and the Defense Intelligence Agency Science and Technology Advisory Board and served as a consultant to the Defense Science Board.

Mr. Kendall is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served 11 years as an active duty Army officer, with assignments in Germany, teaching Engineering at West Point, and working in research and development roles.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., 1971
  • Master of Science, Aerospace Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., 1972
  • Master of Business Administration, C.W. Post Center of Long Island University, Orangeburg, N.Y., 1980
  • Graduate, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pa., 1994
  • Juris Doctoris, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C., 2004

Major Awards and Decorations:

  • Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
  • Army Commendation Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Distinguished Public Service Award (four awards)
  • Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Medal
  • Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive (Senior Executive Service)
  • Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive (Senior Executive Service)

Other Achievements:

2016 Aviation Week and Space Technology Person of the Year (shared with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work)
Publications:

Getting Defense Acquisition Right,” Defense Acquisition University Press, 2017

Professional Memberships and Associations:

  • Former Chair of the Board of Directors, Tahirih Justice Center
  • Former Board Member, Amnesty International USA
  • Former Board Member, Center for Victims of Torture
  • Former Board Member, Truman National Security Project
  • Former Board Member, Truman Center

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