Gary K. Kessler - SA-TECH Advisory Board Member

Mr. Kessler has over 35 years of technical, programmatic and executive experience in leading program teams and organizations that delivered world-class capability for the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense and inspired and mentored our next generation of acquisition leaders.

As the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Air Programs (DASN(AIR)), Mr. Kessler was the principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (ASN) for Research, Development and Acquisition (RD&A) on matters relating to aircraft (manned and unmanned), air-launched weapons, cruise missiles, airborne sensors and avionics. DASN(Air) monitors and advises ASN(RD&A) on programs managed by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and affiliated Program Executive Offices (PEO). He promoted acquisition excellence through effective leadership of over 40+ major MDAP programs with a budget authority of over $120B across the Five-Year Defense Plan. Mr. Kessler achieved over $7.4B in program savings in FY15 thru FY19 budgets by leveraging should cost best practices and providing more efficient procurement profile strategies across the aviation portfolio.

As the Executive Director for Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), Mr. Kessler was directly responsible for ensuring that business and financial objectives were met and that the overall mission was executed in a safe and efficient manner. NAWCAD had a total workforce of over 13,000 people across three sites (Patuxent River, MD, Lakehurst, NJ and Orlando, FL) executing work over $4.0B.

Mr. Kessler served as the Deputy Program Executive Officer for Unmanned Aviation in the PEO for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons (PEO (U&W)) and was responsible for the direction of all Navy and Marine Corps Unmanned Aviation programs including endurance, tactical, combat and joint UAV programs, and the Navy's targets and decoy systems programs. In addition, he was the Chairman of the NATO Joint Capability Group on Unmanned Air Vehicles (JCGUAV), which oversees all aspects of NATO UAS acquisition, and collaboration of UAS issues among all NATO countries.

Mr. Kessler graduated Cum Laude from the University of Maryland in 1982 with a Bachelor's degree in Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering. He received his Master's degree in Business Administration in 1987. He received a Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa) from St. Mary's College of Maryland in May 2016. He is a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College, the Senior Executive Management Development Program and the Leadership Maryland Program. Personal awards include the Secretary of Defense Superior Management Award, PCT Program Manager of the Year, ANA Edward H. Heineman Award, University of Maryland Glenn L. Martin Medal and the Meritorious, Superior and Distinguished Civil Service Awards.