Director, CIA (2011-2012); Commander of U.S. and International Security Assistance Forces-Afghanistan (2010-2011); Partner, KKR
- Crisis Management
- Gender Equality
- Inspiring Lives
Audience & Industry
- Colleges and Universities
- Senior Management Groups
- The Professional Services Industry
- Women's Events
General Lori Robinson was a Commander, a General, an Airman, and she happens to be a woman.
As a combatant Commander, General Robinson was the most senior military woman to serve in the United States Department of Defense. She draws on her unique challenges as a powerful woman in a world dominated by men to discuss leadership, overcoming obstacles, and the state of U.S. national security.
General Lori J. Robinson retired from the Air Force in July 2018, following a 36-year military career, including serving as Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM). In those positions, she commanded 1,600 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and civilians from the United States and Canada. Working with the Governors of all 50 states and their Adjutants General, General Robinson was responsible for coordinating the activities of 300,000 National Guard forces that could be tasked for response to natural disasters or internal defense of the United States. Reporting directly to the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada, she was responsible for early warning and engagement of air and space threats to the United States and Canada, including the ballistic missile threats from North Korea.
Prior to her command of NORAD/NORTHCOM, General Robinson was the Commander, United States Air Forces Pacific, responsible for 45,000 Airmen to deliver combat air power throughout the Pacific Theater. She exerted direct global influence representing the Chief of Staff of the Air Force in meetings with heads of state, political, and military leaders throughout the Pacific.
General Robinson served in many other senior leadership positions including: Director of Joint Capabilities Development (J-8), reporting to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Director of Air Force Legislative Liaison on Capitol Hill, reporting directly to the Secretary of the Air Force, responsible for budget issues and coordination with political leadership in the House and Senate. Earlier in her career, she commanded the Air Force’s only Airborne Warning and Control Wing (AWACS) – including command of combat units engaged in the Middle East. General Robinson’s entire career demonstrates remarkable achievements at the highest levels of war fighting operation, diplomatic engagement, and political coordination.
General Robinson has earned two master’s degrees, served in a fellowship at the Brookings Institution, and completed the Senior Executive Fellows program at Harvard. General Robinson continues to serve as a role model and mentor to career-minded men and women who seek to balance the demands of career with personal and family responsibilities. She is married to Major General (Ret.) David A. Robinson.
Reaching for the Sky: Being a Powerful Woman in a World Dominated by Men
As a combatant Commander, General Robinson was the most senior female to serve on multiple levels of military command and regales audiences with her experiences and lessons learned. As Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), she commanded 1,600 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and civilians from the United States and Canada. General Robinson draws on her experience as a Senior military woman in the department of defense to empower women to grab their seat at the table.
The State of US National Security in our Airspace
Drawing on her 36 years in the U.S. Air Force, Lori Robinson offers her insight on the state of U.S. National Security. As the Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), she reported directly to the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada. General Robinson was responsible for early warning and engagement of air and space threats to the United States and Canada, including the ballistic missile threats from North Korea. She guides audiences through her experiences to reflect on U.S. national security today.
Commencement Speech at UNH
United States of Women Summit