The AIAA Board of Directors has named Robert S. Dickman as the new executive director for the 35,000-member professional organization, according to an announcement made Friday at the Institute’s weeklong meeting in Reno, NV. He is only the third executive director since the AIAA’s formation in 1963.

Dr. Don Richardson, President of AIAA, introduced the new executive at the conclusion of the annual AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting. “Today the Institute enters a new era full of challenges and opportunity, and the Board has selected Robert Dickman as the staff executive to help lead us through it. Bob brings to AIAA a fresh new look at the landscape, and the all-around experience we need to respond to the rapidly-changing environment in which we operate.” The retired major general will leave the position he has held since 2002 as Deputy, Military Space, Office of the Undersecretary of the Air Force, and will bring to AIAA well blended experience in strategic planning, organizational and program management, with a lauded background in aerospace systems acquisition, science and technology, system of systems architecture and integration, interagency and White House coordination, and Congressional interactions for aerospace efforts.

General Dickman retired from the United States Air Force in 2000, as the senior military officer at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Other milestones in Dickman’s career include activation and management assignments at the North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Space Command and Air Force Space Command. As the Space Architect for the Department of Defense from 1995-98, he developed integrated space architectures to improve space support to military operations and to coordinate planning among DOD, the NRO and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He also commanded the 45th Space Wing (Cape Canaveral, FL).

Dickman was born in Brooklyn, NY, and grew up in New Jersey. He entered the Air Force in June 1966 as a distinguished graduate of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Union College. He holds two MS degrees in Management and Space Physics, with a BS in Physics. With plans in motion to join the staff in mid-February, Dickman says he is “excited by the prospect of leading such a distinguished and progressive organization,” with which he has been affiliated throughout his career.

“There’s no bigger name in aerospace than AIAA,” said Dickman, “and I’m proud and thankful to be chosen as chief staff executive. At a time when the Institute is redefining itself and its strategic goals, there is a focus on building the expertise and expanding the community devoted to global aerospace leadership and making a difference in everyday life.” Headquartered in Reston, VA, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) serves more than 35,000 members in 65 regional sections and 79 countries. AIAA focuses on emerging technologies in aviation, space and defense, and has four core missions:

  • To foster AIAA as the voice of, and advocate for, the aerospace profession;
  • To contribute to society by acting as a catalyst for information flow and creative exchange;
  • To create high value to our members; and
  • To strengthen the profession by stimulating workforce development and retention.

For more information, contact Kathy Watkins, 703-264-3847, AIAA Web: