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Strategic Advisory Group

The Company Announces Q4 2024 Results

AeroVironment’s Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) is chartered to provide executive-level advice to its senior leaders on all matters relating to the U.S. Department of Defense. SAG members are highly qualified former members of the U.S. Department of Defense, including retired General Officers and Senior Executive Service members, each with many decades of experience.

Hawk Carlisle
General, USAF (Retired)

Gen. Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle has served on the SAG since June 2022. He had a distinguished 39-year career in the U.S. Air Force, from which he retired as a four-star general in March 2017. His last assignment was as commander, Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. Before that, Carlisle was the commander of Pacific Air Forces; the air component commander for U.S. Pacific Command; and executive director of Pacific Air Combat Operations staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. He served in various operational and staff assignments throughout the U.S. Air Force and commanded a fighter squadron, an operations group, two wings and a numbered air force.

Carlisle graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. He received a master’s degree in business administration in 1988 from Golden Gate University of San Francisco. He completed studies at the Squadron Officer School, the F-15 Fighter Weapons Instructor Course, Air Command and Staff College, Armed Forces Staff College, and Army War College. He also has studied national security management at Syracuse University, international relations at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and national and international security at George Washington University.

Prior to joining AeroVironment’s SAG, Carlisle was the president and chief executive officer of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) from June 2017 to April 2022.


Charles Holland
General, USAF (Retired)

Gen. Charles Holland has served on the SAG since November 2008. During his active military career in the U.S. Air Force, he commanded a squadron in the Philippines, two Air Force Wings, served as Deputy Commanding General of the Joint Special Operations Command, and was Commander of the Special Operations Command, Pacific. Prior to commanding USSOCOM, he commanded the Air Force Special Operations Command and was the Vice Commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. He was a Command Pilot with over 5,000 flying hours which included over 100 combat missions in multiple C-130 and SOF aircraft to include a combat tour in the AC-130 Gunship at Ubon RTAFB, Thailand during the war in Southeast Asia.

Holland is a graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1968, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He received Master degrees in Business Management from Troy State University in 1976 and in Astronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1978. In addition, he continued studies at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (1986), and completed courses at Harvard University - the Program for Senior Officials in National Security (1990), and the National and International Security Management Program (1998).

Holland now serves as a Director or Advisor on multiple corporate boards and acts as an independent consultant for several companies to include the USAF and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).


Kevin W. Mangum
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Retired)

Lt. Gen. Kevin W. Mangum has served on the SAG since June 2022. Mangum retired from the U.S. Army in 2017 after 35 years of service, most recently as the Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Staff of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. In this capacity, he was responsible for orchestrating and resourcing all activities of the command’s 50,000 military and civilian personnel at 1,600 separate operating locations and $8 billion operating budget. He also commanded the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command, and the elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne)(SOAR). As a battalion commander in the 160th SOAR, he led the aviation force during the first ground combat operation of the Global War on Terrorism into Afghanistan in October 2001. After retiring from the Army, Kevin joined Lockheed Martin serving as the Vice President of Army Programs in their Rotary and Mission Systems Business Area from 2017 to 2021.

He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and holds a Master of Business Administration from Webster University. He was inducted into the U.S. Army Aviation Hall of Fame in 2019.

Mangum is the Senior Vice President, Consulting at Teamalytics, and a managing partner of KW Mangum & Associates, a consulting company providing strategic advice to innovative companies offering game-changing capabilities for our warfighters. He serves as a board director at Sentient Science Corporation, is a member of the Army Advisory Council at the Mitre Corporation, and Board Director and Past Chairman of the Night Stalker Foundation (a 501 (c) (3) charitable foundation). Kevin is also a member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service.

Christopher O’Donnell
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition

Christopher O’Donnell has served on the SAG since June 2023. O’Donnell spent 39 years working in all phases of Department of Defense acquisition programs, retiring in 2023 after serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Platform and Weapons Portfolio Management for four years. He spent the last two years of his career performing the duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Acquisition and the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Acquisition. He also held the position of Executive Director of the Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell, providing solutions for hundreds of Joint Urgent Operation Needs and providing capabilities to our allies and partners.

He spent the early parts of his career leading the Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Research and Development Department and designing rocket motors and explosives.

O’Donnell earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University in 1984. He currently consults for government and the defense industry as the Acquisition Principal for O2 Defense LLC.

Ken Tovo
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Retired)

Lt. Gen. Ken Tovo has served on the SAG since June 2022. Over the course of his 35-year military career, much of it as a Green Beret, Tovo developed and led high-performing organizations at varying levels, from a 12-man Special Forces ‘A-team’ to the 34,000-strong U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

His operational assignments included the first Gulf War, refugee relief operations in Turkey and Northern Iraq, noncombatant evacuation operations in Sierra Leone, peacekeeping operations in Bosnia on two occasions, five tours in Iraq, and one tour in Afghanistan.

He is a distinguished graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. He holds a Master of Science degree in Advanced Military Studies from the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College and a Master's in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College; he received the Bristol Military History Writing Award for his War College thesis.

Tovo currently serves on the board of several companies, is the chairman of the Green Beret Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting U.S. Army Green Berets and their families and is an advisory board member of a non-profit that supports the educational needs of killed, wounded, or seriously injured service members.

Mark Wise
Lieutenant General, USMC (Retired)

Lt. Gen. Mark Wise has served on the SAG since March 2023. During his career with the U.S. Marine Corps, he served as the Commanding Officer of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122, Commanding Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 12 in Iwakuni, the Commanding General of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, and as the Assistant Wing Commander, 3D MAW.

Wise served as the Deputy Commander United States Forces Japan working extensively with the U.S. Embassy in Japan and negotiating for Japan’s support delivering the first increase in financial support in twenty years valued at $1.8B. He performed as the Commanding General 3D Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) at I Marine Expeditionary Force in San Diego, California preparing and deploying the aviation force for combat operations. He functioned as the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration at HQ Marine Corps in Washington, DC where he provided strategic, mission-critical oversight of the evolution of the Marine Corps within the $45B combat capability portfolio.

In his final active-duty tour, Wise served as the Deputy Commandant for Aviation (DCA) at HQ Marine Corps in Washington, DC. and acted as the principal advisor to the Commandant on all aviation matters within the $15B portfolio until retiring.

He holds a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Washington.

Wise is a licensed pilot and a prominent member of multiple professional affiliations including the Marine Corps Association, Marine Corps Aviation Association, University of Washington Trustworthy & Pragmatic Undergraduate Mentorship Program, Husky Landing, and the Military Officer Association of America.

He has numerous personal decorations including the Distinguished Service Medal, Versatile & Innovative Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Strike Flight Air Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Impeccable Integrity & Drive Commendation Medal.