New at the top: Kip Ward, federal contracting president, formed U.S. Africa Command


Retired Gen. William “Kip” Ward is now president of Sentel, an IT, intelligence, integrated logistics and engineering services company. (Courtesy of Sentel)
January 27, 2014

I’m a native of Baltimore, born and raised. When I started college, it was during the Vietnam era.

In those days, ROTC was mandatory for all male students at our nation’s land-grant universities. This was in 1967.

The draft was still in place in those days. For me, I thought I would stay in college and get my education. I graduated from Morgan State with a degree in political science and was commissioned in the Army as an infantry officer.

I thought I would stay in the military for four years and then go do something else. That four years turned into four decades.

I had a wonderful career. I served all over the world in myriad assignments and leadership positions. I commanded at every level, learning how to ensure the success of a team.

I started out as a platoon leader at Fort Bragg, N.C., in the 82nd Airborne Division. I was a paratrooper.

I had assignments overseas in Africa and the Middle East, and I went on three Pentagon tours.

I believe a lot of what positions me to do what I do today is a reflection of that myriad assignment history. I’ve created teams, carried out missions and assignments, including building the U.S. Africa Command from scratch to be responsible for all Defense activities on the continent of Africa. Today, that command is mature and operating as other commands operate.

One of the things that has been important to me even while in uniform was working with civilians and having substantial exposure to the business world. When I was in Europe as the NATO force commander in Bosnia, I worked with international businesses there which were doing lots of work in Sarajevo and Herceg Novi.

After setting up Africom, businesses came to me asking about the business climate in Africa and where were the best locations.

Such experiences helped me establish a relationship, albeit informal, with myriad businesses that endeavored to conduct business on the continents of Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

I look to bring those same models for working effectively with teammates who come together to get a job done on behalf of customers in delivering quality services and products.

It has created a diverse set of experiences for me to tackle the position that I now hold at Sentel so I can add value.

— Interview with Vanessa Small

Gen. William ‘Kip’ Ward

Position: President of Sentel, an Alexandria IT, intelligence, integrated logistics and engineering services company.

Career highlights: First commander, U.S. Africa Command; deputy commander, United States European Command, Germany; chief of the office of military cooperation in Cairo. Commander, NATO Forces in Bosnia; deputy commanding general and chief of staff, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army; U.S. security coordinator, Israel-Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv; commander, 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii; command tours in Germany, Korea and Somalia as well as at Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Drum, N.Y. and Fort Wainwright, Alaska; assistant professor of political science and public policy at the U.S. Military Academy.

Education: BS, political science, Morgan State University; MS, political science, Pennsylvania State University; U.S. Army Command and General Staff College; U.S. Army War College.

Personal: Lives in the Washington region with his wife. They have two adult children.

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