Hometown: Brookings, SD
While attending South Dakota State University, Beth Kaspar received four NCAA All-American swimming honors and was a Cadet Commander in ROTC. She received her commission into the U.S. Air Force as a second lieutenant in 1981. She went on to earn a master’s degree in Engineering Management from Western New England College in 1983, a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University in 1988 and a master’s degree in Strategic Studies form Air University in 1992. Over her 24 year USAF career, she rose to the rank of Colonel. She spent her military career in the development of advanced weapons systems for U.S. warfighters. She was a Program Manager for research and development systems in the Intelligence, Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Targeting with assignments at the National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. After retiring from the USAF in 2005 as a General Select, she joined the Department of Defense as Senior Leader. In 2008, she received the Director’s Leadership Award and in 2009, the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Service. She served as a program manager for more than 25 years leading teams in building technologically advanced world class systems. Three systems are credited to her, including a tightly coupled inertial/GPS guidance system for missiles and aircrafts, a fighter targeting system and a custom high performance supercomputing system. She went on to serve as the Senior Program Director for the Department of Defense at Fort Meade, MD. Her father, Art Anderson, worked for the SDSU Extension Service, and her five siblings are all SDSU graduates.