January 8, 2020

From Military Service to Leading an Association, with General Hawk Carlisle

Episode 17:

General Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle became president and chief executive officer of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) on June 15, 2017.

Carlisle came to NDIA after a 39-year career in the Air Force, from which he retired as a four-star general in March 2017. His last assignment was as commander, Air Combat Command (ACC) at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. Prior to serving as the ACC commander, Carlisle was the Commander of Pacific Air Forces, the Air Component Commander for U.S. Pacific Command, and Executive Director of the Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Carlisle has served in various operational and staff assignments throughout the Air Force and commanded a fighter squadron, an operations group, two wings, and a numbered air force. He was a joint service officer and served as chief of air operations, U.S. Central Command Forward in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. During that time, he participated in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. He also participated in Operation Provide Comfort in Turkey and Operation Noble Eagle, which continues.

Carlisle served as director of operational planning, policy, and strategy, deputy chief of staff for air, space and information operations, plans, and requirements, and twice in the plans and programs directorate. He also served as deputy director and later director of legislative liaison at the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.

Carlisle is a command pilot with more than 3,600 flying hours in the AT-38, YF-110, YF-113, T-38, F-15A/B/C/D, and C-17A.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • What the National Defense Industrial Association is, what its mission is, and how it works to support our military and manufacturers who create products for the military
  • Why General Carlisle decided to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy, and how his military career and leadership progressed over 39 years
  • What important lessons on leadership General Carlisle learned over the course of his military career
  • Why a military career requires the right combination of personality traits including dedication, work ethic, and tenacity, and why it isn’t the right career path for everyone
  • How the military promotion process works, and why having the right attitude is the key to advancing
  • Why a willingness to learn and adapt are important traits for leaders, both within the military and in the business world
  • How General Carlisle made the transition from his military career to post-military work, and how working at NDIA requires a different perspective from his roles in the military
  • How the NDIA, turning 100-years-old this year, is looking to the future with the goal of adapting to modern challenges and opportunities
  • What exciting new initiatives and programs the NDIA has been working on since General Carlisle came into his role as president and CEO
  • Why new digital technologies and innovations are creating opportunities for the NDIA to continue to grow and serve

Additional resources: