The mission of the WashingtonExec Department of Defense Council is to bring together thought leaders and executives from the Defense Industry and Federal Government’s Defense Department to facilitate open, transparent, and trusted dialogue, on perspectives between industry executives and their counterparts in government. The desired goal is to foster the exchange of ideas and open communication, leading to a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the Department, and to enhance dialogue and partnership between industry and government to the benefit of U.S. national security. The DoD Council will focus on issues and concerns that matter most, where defense challenges and interests might be addressed by new technologies and new ideas, and where increased collaboration and partnership are necessary for the Department of Defense to overcome shortcomings related to legacy infrastructure, business processes and workforce. The purpose of the Council’s executive engagements is to inspire idea sharing and a sense of community and shared responsibility for the nation’s defense.
Lt. General William J. Bender currently serves as Senior Vice President - Strategic Account Executives & Government Relations, within the Business Development & Strategy Group at Leidos. General Bender is responsible for strengthening and advancing trusted relationships with customers and advancing strategic initiatives to foster enterprise growth.
General Bender brings more than 34 years of military experience and executive-level leadership in multiple facets of information technology (IT) and government services. General Bender most recently served as Chief Information Officer for the United States Air Force (USAF), where he was responsible for 50,000 cyber operations and support personnel across the globe with oversight for the USAF’s IT investment strategy and a portfolio valued at $17 billion. Prior to his most recent role, General Bender was the second highest ranking military officer, based at the United States Embassy in Iraq, serving as the Deputy Chief, Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq with oversight and management of foreign military sales and security cooperation initiatives supporting U.S. diplomatic relations with the government of Iraq. His leadership tenure in the USAF also includes serving as Chief Operations Officer with overall operations, training and readiness responsibility for 20,000 personnel, as well as Executive Staff Director and Joint Duty Officer to European Command and U.S. Transportation Command Commanders with responsibility for theater-wide and global logistics operations.
General Bender currently serves as an Executive Committee Member for AFCEA International, as a Board Member for the National Defense Industry Association and the National Defense University Foundation in addition to serving on three Federal Advisory Boards.
General Bender was commissioned in 1983 after earning a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from Manhattan College. He also holds a Master of Arts National Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, a Master of Business Administration in Business and Aviation Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and numerous certificates from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.