Ret. LTG L. Neil Thurgood, DBA

Special Advisor to UAH President for Military Affairs and Technology, The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH)


301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899
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Retired Lieutenant General L. Neil Thurgood is the special advisor to the UAH president for military affairs and technology. Prior to his appointment at UAH, he served as the director for hypersonics, directed energy, space and rapid acquisition in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (acquisition, logistics, and technology) at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

In this role, LTG Thurgood was responsible for the fielding of select capabilities to deter and counter rapidly modernizing adversaries. He oversaw the development of an Army long-range hypersonic weapon and led the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office in researching, developing, prototyping, testing, evaluating, procuring and fielding critical technologies and capabilities consistent with the Army’s modernization priorities.

Before this appointment, LTG Thurgood served as the director for test at the Missile Defense Agency at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. His most recent deployment spanned from 2017 to 2018 when he served as deputy commander for the Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan during Operation Resolute Support/Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Before his deployment, he assumed the role of the deputy for acquisition and systems management at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (acquisition, logistics and technology) in Washington, D.C.

LTG Thurgood’s military career began in 1983 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was commissioned as an aviation branch officer in 1986. He served in various company-grade and battalion aviation positions in the U.S. and overseas, including multiple combat deployments. His service extended to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (airborne) as a platoon leader, operations officer, and company commander.

After transitioning into the Army Acquisition Corps in 1995, he served in various program offices for conventional and special programs. As a project manager, LTG Thurgood served in the Utility Helicopters Office. Later, as a program executive officer, LTG Thurgood led the PEO for Missiles and Space at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. His contributions included operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.

LTG Thurgood holds a bachelor’s in business from the University of Utah, a master’s in systems acquisition management from the Naval Postgraduate School, a master’s in strategic studies from the Air University Air War College, and a doctorate in strategic planning and organizational leadership from the University of Sarasota. Additionally, he possesses several professional certifications.


  • Advanced Program Management Executive Program, Harvard Business School
  • Executive Leadership Program, The Wharton School
  • Executive and Senior Leadership Program, The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
  • DBA, Strategic Planning and Organizational Leadership, University of Sarasota
  • M.S., Strategic Studies, USAF Air War College
  • M.S., Systems Acquisition Management, Naval Postgraduate School
  • B.S., Business and Communications, University of Utah


  • Leadership Development
  • Military Affairs and Technology
  • Hypersonics
  • Directed Energy
  • Long Range Weapons
  • Aerospace and Defense
  • Military Logistics and Operations
  • Critical Technologies
  • Helicopter Operations
  • Government Contracting and Acquisition