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General Lyles is a distinguished retired military officer with 36 years of service in the United States Air Force where he rose to the rank of four-star general. In his last position, he served as Commander, Air Force Materiel Command in the Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Ohio. There, General Lyles was responsible for an 82,000-person organization implementing all U.S. Air Force research, development, acquisition, and logistics/sustainment.​

From 1999 to 2000, General Lyles was Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force for the Pentagon in Washington DC. As Chief Operating Officer and the second-highest-ranking officer for the U.S. Air Force, he was responsible for helping the Chief of Staff manage 750,000 Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve personnel in executing global Air Force missions.​

General Lyles’ awards and honors include the 2003 Black Engineer of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award, the General Bernard A. Schriever Award, the Hiram Hadley’s Founder’s Award of Excellence, and the NAACP’s 1994 Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award. Additionally, General Lyles was named “Astronautics Engineer of the Year” in 1999 by the National Space Club and is regularly named among Ebony Magazine’s “100 Most Influential African-Americans in the U.S”. General Lyles has previously served on the Defense Science Board in the Pentagon, the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board in the White House, and the International Security Advisory Board in the State Department. He is currently a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. General Lyles is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, where he has chaired the Academy’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. He is the Chairman of NASA’s Advisory Council, and he serves on the White House National Space Council’s User Advisory Group under the Office of the Vice President. He has served on the Boards of USAA, General Dynamics, and Battelle. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of KBR.