Lester Lyles

Lester Lyles

Senior Principal Advisor

Lester Lyles is a Senior Principal Advisor for Elara Nova. He brings over 50 years of military and civilian expertise in tactical aircraft, space-launch, and missile defense systems to the team.

During his distinguished military career, General Lyles (Ret.) served for over 35 years in several prominent positions that included Commander of Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, Utah, Commander of Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., and Director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. Lyle’s military accomplishments culminated in his roles as Vice Chief of Staff at Headquarters U.S. Air Force (USAF) and Commander of Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, before retiring in 2003. As Commander of AFMC, Lyles was tasked with implementing all USAF research, development, acquisition, and logistics for an 82,000-person organization.

In his civilian career, Lyles has remained heavily involved as a respected and influential voice in the national defense and space industries. Lyles served as a member of the The President’s Commission on Space Policy and chaired the Rationale and Goals of the U.S. Civil Space Program Committee of the United States National Academies. Contributions to the industry also include membership on the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, an appointment as the Vice Chairman of the Defense Science Board that advises the U.S. Department of Defense on scientific and technical matters, and an appointment to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board by the White House.

Lyles currently chairs the User Advisory Group for the National Space Council. He also chairs the NASA Council for the National Advisory Council, a role he’s held since 2016. Additionally, Lyles contributed to national security and intelligence issues as a member of the State Department’s International Security Advisory Board, the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and chaired the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Academy of Engineering.

In the private sector, Lyles has over 20 years of experience serving on the Board of Directors for several corporations including General Dynamics Corporation, Precision Cast Parts and Battelle Labs. Additionally, Lyles served on the Board of Directors for USAA for 15 years, including serving as the Chairman of the USAA Board for the last eight years. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board for KBR Corporation, a role he’s held since 2007. To this day, Lyles still serves as a member on the Board of Directors for the following organizations: Frontier Technologies Inc., Virginia Humanities, Partnership for Public Service, Virginia Academy of Science Technology and Medicine, Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, and the Air Force Museum Foundation.

Lyles earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Howard University and an M.S. in mechanical/nuclear engineering from New Mexico State University. He is also a recipient of Honorary Doctorate of Laws degrees from New Mexico State University and Urbana University. Lyles’ academic accomplishments also include graduating from the Defense Systems Management College, the Armed Forces Staff College, the National War College, and the National and International Security Management Course at Harvard University.