The Honorable Michael B. Donley is chairman of The Aerospace Corporation’s Board of Trustees. He served as vice chairman of the board from December 2015 to December 2017, when he was elected chairman. He was originally elected to the board in September 2013. He has 40 years of Washington experience in the national security community, including service in the Senate, White House, and Pentagon.
Donley served as the 22nd secretary of the Air Force from June 2008 to June 2013. He was responsible for all affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the recruiting, training, and equipping of more than 600,000 military and civilian personnel and an annual budget of approximately $110 billion. As secretary, he concurrently served as the Defense Department’s executive agent for space, chairing the DOD Space Council, and coordinating the department’s space policies, plans, and programs with other government agencies.
Donley previously served as the director of Administration and Management in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2005 to 2008. He was the secretary’s principal staff assistant for DOD organizational and administrative matters, managing the Pentagon Reservation, including all construction, facility operations, security, and information technology.
As a defense consultant from 1993 to 2005, first as a senior fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses and later as a senior vice president of Hicks & Associates, Donley focused on issues related to defense management and organization, supporting numerous boards and commissions. He led major studies on the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, and the Unified Command Plan, and he served 18 months as special adviser to the International Defense Reform Commission in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
From 1989 to 1993, Donley served as assistant secretary of the Air Force (Financial Management & Comptroller), including seven months as acting secretary of the Air Force.
Donley served two presidents and five national security advisors during his service at the National Security Council from 1984 to 1989, first as director of defense programs and later as deputy executive secretary. He spent five years in the U.S. Senate, including four years as a professional staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Donley is a recipient of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service and equivalent awards from the Army, Navy, and Air Force. He is also a recipient of the Air Force Order of the Sword, which honors leaders who have made significant contributions to the enlisted corps, and the Air Force Association’s W. Stuart Symington and General Bernard Schriever awards.
Donley holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in international relations from the University of Southern California.