National Space Society Governor Karlton Johnson Biography

Karlton Johnson biography portrait

Karlton Johnson

Chairman, National Space Society Board of Governors


Colonel Karlton D. Johnson (USAF-Retired) is a senior executive and visionary strategic leader with over 30+ years of experience designing innovative cyber / Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions that enabled business transformation globally for large, multinational organizations. He currently serves as the Global Cyber and Data Risk Officer at Arconic Inc (formerly “Alcoa Inc.”) leading all aspects of cyber and ICT critical data risk management and protection, regulatory compliance, supply chain risk assessment, threat response and remediation for the company. Previously, he served as the Vice President, Business Development, Alcoa Defense in Washington, D.C. where he led all business development efforts for the air, space and combat support segments of Alcoa Defense, and was responsible for the development of strategy, execution of new business pursuits and the stewardship of existing relationships with defense prime contractors and the Department of Defense.

Colonel Johnson retired from Active Duty in the United States Air Force in 2014 after 26 years of honorable service.  He has held a variety of challenging senior leadership and command positions in the Air Force, joint and international communities to include Tactical Air Control Party joint operations, Counterdrug missions, communications support to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), space operations supporting Air Force Space Command, and on the Joint Staff supporting Combatant Commanders via the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.  While serving at Onizuka AFB in California, Col Johnson assumed communications support responsibility for 11 satellite remote tracking stations globally and executed a record 37,000 satellite support actions with a zero-error rate which reduced risks to US space vehicles supporting national space programs.  A combat veteran, Colonel Johnson previously served as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I/J6). Under his leadership in Iraq, his joint warfighters executed over 600 combined combat missions in hostile fire zones to build revolutionary ICT capabilities for the Iraqi Ministries of Defense, Interior, and the Counter Terrorism Bureau. Colonel Johnson also served as the Commander of the 354th Mission Support Group, 354th Fighter Wing, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, where he led six squadrons and 1,500 personnel providing combat capacity, capability, and mission-ready forces in direct support of US national interests worldwide. There, he directed DoD’s 9th largest JP-8 fuels depot and managed 770 facilities, 1,500 housing units, 63,000 acres of land and over $5.5 billion in assets. In his final posting, he served as the J6-Senior US military executive/CIO and lead cyberspace expert adviser to the 4-star Commander at United States Forces-Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea (USFK J6/CIO-CTO). As the Korean Peninsula’s senior U.S. cyber executive, he led 200 elite joint military, civilian and contract personnel in providing strategic oversight for all U.S. communications in the Republic of Korea supporting 28,000 military personnel, and he was the principal U.S. military liaison to Republic of Korea’s ICT and cyber organizations for bilateral cyberspace cooperation. His successes there include the creation of Korea’s first Joint Cyber Center, and he led a $530 million Republic of Korea-wide modernization and investment strategy that was the largest military ICT upgrade for U.S. Forces in-country in 10 years.

Colonel Johnson has held a variety of leadership and Chairman positions on numerous Boards, and he also holds several Masters Degrees and executive Graduate Certifications from various institutions to include George Washington University, National Defense University, West Virginia University, ISACA and the U.S. government.


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