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Major General William S. Chen, BSE, MSE, MBA, MSM, BSM, LM, DSM


© PHOTOGRAPH of New Westminster College - Major General William S. Chen, BSE, MSE, MBA, MSM, MSM, BSM, LM, DSM, U.S. Army (Ret'd) - Senior Fellow of New Westminster College - http://newwestminstercollege.ca


Major General William S. Chen is a retired U.S. Army Major General and a Senior Fellow of New Westminster College. He earned a B.S.E. in Engineering Mathematics and an M.S.E. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, both from the University of Michigan. He also earned a M.B.A. degree from Auburn University. He was successively a Distinguished Graduate of the Defense Systems Management College, Air Command and Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Major General Chen has a distinguished record of ethical leadership and retired from the United States Army with the rank of Major General after serving on active duty for more than 32 years from June 1961 to September 2003. In October 1989, at age 49, he was promoted to Major General, the first Chinese-American to wear two-star rank in the U.S. Army.

Major General Chen had successive assignments in the operational aspects, R&D, development, procurement & production, program management, support, and systems acquisition management of Army missile, missile defense, and weapons systems.  Early on in his career he served as an Army Air Defense Command Post officer during the Cuban Missile Crisis, followed by commanding a launcher platoon in a Nike Hercules battery in the Washington-Baltimore Air Defense Area.  As a First Lieutenant assigned to the Nike Hercules Project Office, U.S. Army Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, he participated in early experiments in anti-tactical ballistic missile defense, where he coordinated the flight test program for missile interceptor firings against short-range Honest John rockets and medium-range surface-to-surface Sergeant and Redstone missiles — demonstrating the technical capability to engage tactical ballistic missiles.  As a Captain, he served in the 8th Army Depot Command in Korea, providing missile and weapons supply support to high priority air defense and land combat missile systems.  While assigned to the U.S. Army Combat Developments Command as a Major, he developed requirements for the Army’s Anti-Ballistic Missile System and the Surface to Air Missile – Development (SAM-D System), later designated the Patriot Missile System. He was later assigned to the SAM-D Project Office during the full-scale development of the SAM-D System.  As a Lieutenant Colonel, he served as an Operations Research Analyst, in the Program Analysis & Evaluation Directorate, Office of the Chief of Staff, Army – responsible for overseeing all missile and air defense programs undergoing milestone decision reviews for entry into development and production.  As a Colonel, he was the project manager on two major air defense programs.

Promoted to Brigadier General, he served as the Deputy Director of Weapons Systems, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Acquisition, Department of Army, and later as the Assistant Deputy for Systems Management, Office of the Secretary of the Army for Research, Development and Acquisition, responsible for program/budget development and systems management oversight for the R&D and procurement of the Army’s weapons systems.  As a Major General, he commanded the U.S. Army Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the largest deployment of missiles in the Army’s history.  He directed the support for all missile systems deployed to the theater, ensuring high operational readiness rates.  Subsequently, he was assigned as the Program Executive Officer for Global Protection Against Limited Strikes under the Strategic Defense Initiative Office (SDIO), Office of the Secretary of Defense. He led and directed all the Army’s National and Theater Missile Defense programs. Upon transformation of the SDIO to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, he became the Army’s first Program Executive Officer for Missile Defense. He crafted the down-select strategy and the evaluation process that resulted in the selection of kinetic energy technology over fragmentation technology in missile interceptors.

Aside from Major General Chen’s missile and missile defense-related assignments, he served with the U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group Thailand, Defense Attaché Office Laos, and has commanded a battalion.  He also taught project management at the Defense Systems Management College.

Upon his retirement from the Army, Major General Chen joined the defense industry.  His defense industry experience included successive assignments in United Defense, Inc. as Vice President & Program Director, Vice President for Army Programs, and Vice President for Engineering & Product Development; and in BAE Systems, Inc. as Vice President & General Manager. Included were six years of international business experience in Turkey as the U.S. Vice President & General Manager for a joint venture U.S.–Turkish company that developed and manufactured combat vehicles for international customers.

Major General Chen is a recipient of the U.S. – Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Excellence 2000 Award and the National Defense Industrial Association Firepower Award. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, National Engineering Honor Society, and is listed in Asian American Net’s Who’s Who of Asian Americans.

Major General Chen’s awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with 5 oak leaf clusters), Air Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal (with oak leaf cluster), Army Commendation Medal (with oak leaf cluster), Meritorious Unit Commendation, and Army Staff Identification Badge.

As a Senior Fellow of New Westminster College, Major General William S. Chen is dedicated to supporting the highest standards of academic excellence and is committed to the advancement of New Westminster College and its Global Network of Fellows.

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  1. […] Major General William S. Chen, BSE, MSE, MBA, MSM, MSM, BSM, LM, DSM […]


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