Chairman: Richard McConn
Mr. Richard McConn, native of North Dakota, is the CEO and founder of M International Inc., a United States government subcontractor and export management company. Prior to founding M International, Mr. McConn was the director of Corporate Planning and Development for Flight Safety International, Inc. He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the USAF Reserve and served in a variety of positions as an active and reserve duty officer, including an assignment as the White House Aide to the President of the United States. Mr. McConn graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1966 with a BS in International Affairs. He is currently on the boards of M International, Inc., Moroccan – American Museum in Tangiers, Morocco, the Falcon Foundation, and the National Defense Industrial Association. He received the U.S. Air Force Academy Distinguished Graduate Award in 2011.
Major General Arnold L. Punaro, USMC (Ret)
Arnold Punaro is the Chairman of the NDIA Board of Directors and the Chief Executive Officer of The Punaro Group, LLC, a Washington-based firm he founded in 2010 specializing in federal budget and market analysis, business strategy and capture, acquisition due diligence, government relations, communications, sensitive operations, business risk analysis and compliance, and crisis management. He consults for a broad array of Fortune 100 companies and has been recognized by Defense News as one of the 100 most influential individuals in U.S. Defense. He also leads Punaro Capital, LLC, a firm specializing in national security investments, and Punaro Press, LLC, a company that specializes in national security publications.
In November 2015, Mr. Punaro completed a four-year term, first as Vice-Chairman, then as Chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association, the country’s largest defense industry association with over 1,600 corporate and nearly 70,000 individual members. As NDIA Chairman Emeritus, he served as Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee from 2015 to 2018. He began a new two-year term as Vice-Chairman in October 2018 and another two-year term as Chairman beginning in October 2020.
Since September 2011, he has been Chairman of the Reserve Forces Policy Board which serves as an independent advisor to the Secretary of Defense on Reserve and National Guard matters. He served on the Defense Business Board (DBB) as a founding member at its inception in 2002 until 2013. He resumed serving on the DBB in 2015. In 2020, he co-chaired a congressionally-mandated independent study for the Secretary of Defense titled the “Assessment of Responsibilities and Authorities of the Chief Management Officer of the Department of Defense.”
From 2005 to 2008, he was the Chairman of the Independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves. He also served as a task force member for the U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Regional Security in 2008, a Commissioner on the Independent Commission on the Iraqi Security Force in 2007, Deputy Executive Director of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century from 1998 to 2001, and chaired the Defense Reform Task Force for Secretary of Defense William Cohen in 1997.
As an executive vice president at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) from 1997 to 2010, at the time a $10 billion company, Mr. Punaro served as a sector manager, deputy president of the Federal Business Segment, and led SAIC's Corporate Business Development organization.
From 1973 to 1997, Mr. Punaro worked for Senator Sam Nunn in national security matters. He served as his director of National Security Affairs and then as Staff Director of the Senate Armed Services Committee (eight years) and Staff Director for the Minority (five years).
A retired U.S. Marine Corps Major General, he served as the Director of the Marine Corps Reserve, Deputy Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command (Mobilization), and for three years as the Commanding General of the 4th Marine Division. Other assignments were Commanding General, Marine Corps Mobilization Command, and Deputy Commander, Marine Forces Reserve. In December 1990, he was mobilized for Operation Desert Shield. In December 1993, he completed a tour of active duty as Commander of Joint Task Force Provide Promise (Forward) in the former Yugoslavia. He was mobilized for a third time in May 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served on active duty as an Infantry Platoon Commander in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and the Purple Heart.
He has a Masters of Arts degree from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Arts degree from Georgetown University, the latter in national security studies. He was on the Adjunct Faculty of the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University for ten years where he taught an annual graduate level course entitled "National Security Decision Making."
He is the author of the book, On War and Politics: The Battlefield Inside Washington’s Beltway, that was published by the Naval Institute Press in October 2016. He is completing his second book, The Ever-Shrinking Fighting Force, was published in June 2021.
The Honorable William "Mac" Thornberry
William McClellan "Mac" Thornberry is an American politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 13th congressional district from 1995 to 2021. A member of the Republican Party, Thornberry represented the most Republican district in the United States by partisan voting index. The district covers the Texas Panhandle and stretched between the Oklahoma and New Mexico borders.
Thornberry is a lifelong resident of Clarendon, 60 miles (97 km) east of Amarillo in the heart of the 13th. His family has operated a ranch in the area since 1881. He received his Bachelor of Arts in history from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He then obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin.
He served as a staffer to two other Texas Republican congressmen, Tom Loeffler and Larry Combest, and as deputy assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs under Ronald Reagan before joining his brothers on the family ranch. Thornberry has called President Reagan "...a great man and a great president, ranking in the top tier of all of our chief executives." He also practiced law in Amarillo.
From 2015 to 2019, Thornberry served as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, the first Texan of either party to hold this position. The committee oversees the Pentagon, all military services, and all Department of Defense agencies, including agency budgets and policies.
Since taking the committee gavel at the beginning of the 114th Congress, Thornberry has spearheaded a major Department of Defense acquisition reform effort that has received bipartisan and bicameral support from House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ).
Thornberry previously served on the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
The Honorable Ellen Lord
Ms. Lord is a high energy executive with extensive experience in aerospace and defense. Her expertise lies at the intersection of industry and government in addition to general management. She develops efficient and cost-effective business processes to commercialize technology for aircraft, maritime, space and automotive systems that mitigate cybersecurity threats. Ms. Lord understands how products and services are successfully sold to U.S., particularly the Department of Defense (DoD), and international government entities.
Ms. Lord brings 33 years of industry experience in conjunction with 3 ½ years in a senior political government position, the combination of which provides an understanding of the nexus of industrial capability and government ability to procure. She leverages her experience to focus on national and economic security issues that intertwine industrial and government entities. Ms. Lord's technology know-how, coupled with her business acumen, uniquely positions her to envision capability delivery to meet customer demand. In industry, she is respected for her strategic perspective, operational know-how, and the ability to recruit, develop and retain critical talent.
Ms. Lord served as the first Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, leading the Department of Defense’s personnel, policy and processes for acquisition of products and services, lifecycle sustainment and the security and resiliency of the defense industrial base. Ms. Lord is credited in her government work for driving significant acquisition policy change focused on simplicity and speed. She implemented procedures that recognize major platforms and weapon systems are hardware enabled yet software defined. Additionally, she is recognized for addressing cyber vulnerabilities and incorporating an aggressive cybersecurity posture into acquisition policy. Ms. Lord also focused on a high level of communication with all stakeholders and strengthening human capital. During her time with the DoD, she developed strong relationships with Congressional members in both a bipartisan and bicameral manner.
After leaving her DoD role in January 2021, Ms. Lord established EML Enterprises, LLC, providing advisory services that leverage her industrial and government experience. Prior to her government appointment, Ellen was President and CEO of Textron Systems, a subsidiary of Textron Company where she led a broad range of products and services supporting defense, homeland security, aerospace, infrastructure protection, and customers around the world.
She is the former Vice Chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association and served as Director of the U.S. – India Business Council. Additionally, Ms. Lord served on the Task Force providing guidance for the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) “Future Foundry: Forging New Industries for Defense” project which was formed to examine key technological trends and challenges facing the global defense industry. Ms. Lord also served as a Trustee on the Board of the U.S. Naval Institute Foundation. Ms. Lord has a Master of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of New Hampshire and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Connecticut College.
Mr. Mitch Daniels
Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. is the 12th president of Purdue University and the former governor of Indiana.
He was elected Indiana’s 49th governor in 2004 in his first bid for any elected office, and then re-elected in 2008 with more votes than any candidate in the state's history. During his tenure, Indiana went from an $800 million deficit to its first AAA credit rating, led the nation in infrastructure building and passed sweeping education and healthcare reforms. After a series of transformations, which included the biggest tax cut in state history, the nation’s most sweeping deregulation of the telecommunications industry and a host of other reforms aimed at strengthening the state’s economy, Indiana was rated a top five state for business climate and number one for state infrastructure and effectiveness of state government as Daniels exited office. Indiana’s business climate is now rated among the nation’s best.
At Purdue, Daniels has prioritized student affordability and reinvestment in the university’s strengths. Breaking with a 36-year trend, Purdue has held tuition unchanged from 2012 through at least the 2022-23 academic year. Simultaneously, room rates have remained steady, meal plan rates have fallen about 10%, and student borrowing has dropped 32% while investments in student success and STEM research have undergone unprecedented growth. It is less expensive to attend Purdue today than it was in 2012.
In recognition of his leadership as both a governor and a university president, Daniels was named among the Top 50 World Leaders by Fortune Magazine in 2015 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019.
Prior to becoming governor, Daniels served as chief of staff to Senator Richard Lugar, senior advisor to President Ronald Reagan and Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush. He also was the CEO of the Hudson Institute, a major contract research organization. During an 11-year career at Eli Lilly and Company, he held a number of top executive posts including president of Eli Lilly’s North American pharmaceutical operations. Daniels earned a bachelor's degree from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a law degree from Georgetown. He is the author of three books and a contributing columnist in the Washington Post.
He and his wife Cheri have four daughters and seven grandchildren.
Mr. Paul Madera
Mr. Paul Madera co-founded Meritech in 1999 and helps lead the firm’s consumer, enterprise and fintech practices.
Prior to co-founding Meritech, Mr. Madera was a Managing Director and the Head of the Private Equity Group at Montgomery Securities, where he advised private tech companies on equity financings. He began his career in finance as an investment banker with Morgan Stanley in New York, and prior to joining Morgan Stanley, he served in the US Air Force as an F-4 and F-16 pilot based in South Korea, Spain, and Utah.
Mr. Madera has been named to the Forbes 'Midas List' multiple times, a recognition given to the world's top tech investors.
Mr. Madera holds a B.S. from the United States Air Force Academy and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He currently serves as a trustee of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and on the Board of the U.S. Air Force Academy Foundation. In addition, he is on the Defense Business Board which advises the Secretary of Defense on business and commercial practices. Paul spends his time away from the office cycling across the Bay Area to prepare for ‘century rides.'