A U.S. Department of Defense industry executive and the former Air Force Association CyberPatriot commissioner have been selected to serve on Civil Air Patrol’s Board of Governors.
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Don Kang is director, Air Force Programs, in the U.S. DoD Customer Requirements & Advocacy organization located in BAE Systems’ Arlington Plaza, Virginia, office. He is responsible for Air Force programs and business development in Washington, D.C., for the company’s Electronics Systems Product Sector.
Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Bernie Skoch has been the aerospace education adviser to the Air Force Association since June, after serving as the first national commissioner of CyberPatriot, the AFA’s National Youth Cyber Education Program, from July 2010 until May. Skoch and his wife of 49 years, Debbie, met in the ninth grade as CAP cadets.
“Both these gentlemen have served in the U.S. Air Force, and their career experiences will be of immediate benefit to the Board of Governors,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Kevin McLaughlin, board chairman. “We look forward to their tenure on the board as we all work together to help move Civil Air Patrol forward.”
The 11-member Board of Governors is CAP’s top governing body. It consists of four Air Force appointees, three members appointed jointly by the secretary of the Air Force and CAP's national commander, and four members-at-large selected by the CAP Senior Advisory Group.
Kang was appointed to the board by the secretary of the Air Force. Skoch was jointly appointed by the secretary of the Air Force and CAP’s national commander, Maj. Gen. Edward D. Phelka. Kang’s appointment is effective Oct. 26, when he succeeds retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Sandra Finan. Skoch replaces Martha King, co-founder and co-chair of King Schools Inc., on Nov. 15.
“We thank Gen. Finan and Ms. King for their outstanding service to Civil Air Patrol,” Phelka said, “and welcome Col. Kang and Gen. Skoch to the board.
Kang joined BAE Systems in 2020 after a 23-year career in the Air Force. He is an accomplished pilot with over 3,600 flying hours experience in F-16 and Boeing 737 aircraft.
A decorated combat veteran, he led the initial strikes of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School. He is also an airline pilot for American Airlines.
Multiple assignments on the Headquarters Air Staff enabled Kang to develop board expertise in DoD planning, policy and budget preparation. As a senior adviser for the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, he guided policy and legislation to increase warfighter operational readiness. He also led staff efforts for pilot retention and public-private partnerships for pilot training innovation.
As deputy director of the Plans, Programs and Requirements directorate, he resourced $10 billion for the Air National Guard’s combat, mobility, space and Command, Control, Communications, Computers Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) forces.
He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and has post-graduate degrees from Embry-Riddle in management, the University of Texas San Antonio in business administration and the Air War College in national security strategy. His professional affiliations include Civil Air Patrol, the Air Force Association, the Association of Old Crows, Air Force Academy Association of Graduates, Military Officers Association of America, and Allied Pilots Association.
As the national commissioner of CyberPatriot, Skoch led a team that in just a few years took the program from a modest proof-of-concept demonstration to the largest youth cyber education program in the world and a comprehensive suite of activities engaging over a quarter-million participants in grades pre-K through12 in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and other nations.
He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. Upon graduation he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force. His 29-year Air Force career took him throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East on permanent and temporary duty, and multiple Pentagon assignments, including three on the Air Staff and an extended Joint Staff tour.
Skoch has more than 20 years of experience in leadership positions developing, managing and implementing communications and information systems for the Air Force as well as the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). At DISA he served as the principal director for Customer Advocacy, as commander of the Joint Interoperability Organization and as the principal director for Network Services.
Within the Air Force he served as director of Mission Systems, director of Communications Operations and director of Chief Information Officer Support, where he was responsible for aligning information technology systems with business process improvements. He has developed policies for global telephone, video, radio, voice, data and satellite systems.
Since 2004, Skoch has been a consultant in the cyber security and other technology areas.
As the Air Force Association’s aerospace education advisor, Skoch assists in the planning and implementation of the AFA’s flagship STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education programs, CyberPatriot and StellarXplorers, and AFA’s national high school space challenge. He provides leadership and support for program development. In this role, Skoch is able to further student interest in STEM-related studies as well as to increase awareness of cybersecurity threats.
He is a certificated multi-engine commercial-rated pilot, an amateur astronomer, and a 16-time marathon runner. He holds a commercial Federal Communications Commissioner general radio operator license and is an FCC-licensed amateur radio operator.