Karlton Johnson

Johnson Succeeds Recently Passed CEO Anita Gale to Assure Continued Operations

Anita Gale’s leadership left a lasting legacy. I am committed to advancing that legacy and elevating it to the next level of success.”

— Karlton Johnson, NSS CEO and Chairman of the Board of Governors

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA, USA, June 6, 2024 / — On May 27th, Karlton Johnson, USAF (retired), was appointed by the NSS Board of Directors as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Space Society to complete the remainder of the term of former CEO Anita Gale who passed unexpectedly earlier this month.

Johnson is the Chief Executive Officer of Delaine Strategy Group LLC, a strategic advisory practice providing confidential counsel to C-Suite leaders in the public, private/Fortune 500, non-profit, academic, and government sectors. He is a senior executive leader with over 36 years of subject matter experience in strategic leadership, risk management, partnership creation, organizational excellence, mission assurance, cybersecurity, board excellence, and the development of emerging space markets. Johnson brings extensive corporate board experience and has advised internationally to drive large-scale program initiatives from requirements to full implementation.

“Over the last several years as COO I have worked with Karlton in his role as Chairman of the NSS Board of Governors,” said Dale Skran, NSS COO and Senior Vice President. “Under his leadership, the Board of Governors provided valuable strategic direction to enable the society to create a strong set of strategic plans, many of which have already come to fruition. He also has initiated an ambitious plan to upgrade and modernize the NSS Board of Governors and has acted as a key public face of the organization.”

Johnson’s distinguished career in the Air Force included senior leadership roles where he oversaw strategic operations and communications technologies essential to national security. His leadership ensured mission assurance and reduced risks in highly sensitive programs. Johnson’s ability to lead diverse teams in complex environments has been proven time and again.

In the civilian sector, Johnson made significant contributions at Alcoa Inc., where he led the creation and advancement of the company’s first key space account program, coordinated efforts to grow emerging business development opportunities, and brought transparency to Alcoa’s growing Space Market Expansion. He continues to successfully engage with Congressional leaders to garner support for various space-related legislative initiatives and advocate for commercial and civil space programs, space traffic management, planetary defense, and space economic development. As the former leader of the Aerospace Industries Association’s (AIA) Commercial Space Committee and deputy for the National Security Space Committee, Johnson played a key role in advocating for commercial space market advancements and legislative support for space initiatives.

Johnson holds several advanced degrees and executive graduate certifications from reputable academic institutions and serves on numerous boards, including Microchip Technology Inc., AFCEA International’s Board of Directors, and Explore Mars Inc. Board of Advisors. He is a former member of the Conrad Foundation’s Board of Advisors where he supported student innovation and entrepreneurship. Johnson is the Chairman Emeritus of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Accreditation Body, Inc., the Department of Defense’s top program for digitally securing the $768 billion defense industrial base protecting 3.2 percent of the United States’ Gross Domestic Product and national security.

Johnson succeeds Anita Gale as the CEO of the NSS after she passed in May. “Anita Gale’s leadership left a lasting legacy. I am committed to advancing that legacy and elevate it to the next level of success.” Johnson said. “The NSS will be at the forefront of thought leadership in multi-national space development, defining new space economies, and addressing Earth-based challenges. We will expand operations with a strong focus on sustainability, ethical practices, and value-added diversity that enhances our mission. By forging strategic partnerships and involving our diverse membership, we will continue making significant strides in space exploration and development.”


The National Space Society was founded in 1987 via a merger of the National Space Institute and the L5 Society. The NSS is the preeminent citizen’s voice on space exploration, development, and settlement. To learn more about the NSS and its mission to establish humanity as a spacefaring species, visit us on the web at

Rod Pyle
National Space Society
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