Gryphon Advisory Board

Brigadier General Gary “Mike” Jones
(U.S. Army Special Forces – Retired)    
Chairman – Gryphon Advisory Board

Gary “Mike” Jones is now the Chairman of the Gryphon Board of Advisors.  He was the President of Gryphon Group for 10 years, and is recognized as a proven, experienced-forged senior leader in military and international affairs.  General Jones has 28-years military special operations experience with extensive operational expertise in Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, the Caribbean, Central America and the Middle East. 

Some of the milestones of his exceptional military career include:

  • Commander, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  • Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Special Operations Command
  • Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Agency Counter-Terrorism Center
  • Deputy Commander, Combined Joint Task Force-Mountain-Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Commanding General, Special Operations Europe
  • Commanding General, United States Army Special Forces Command

After his years of military service, General Jones served as Senior Vice President for Performance Materials, Inc., a company providing innovative armor solutions for the Department of Defense; as Senior Vice President of Saffron Technology, an innovative Software Company providing state of the art analytical support to the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community; and as President of Myrmidon Consulting, LLC. 

He has provided consulting support to U.S. Special Operations Command as a senior mentor to the Unified Quest series exercises, and to the Joint Chiefs of Staff J7 for Irregular Warfare doctrinal review.  General Jones is an alumnus of Louisiana State University where he earned a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice and is a graduate of the Army War College and the Conflict Management and Negotiation programs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Captain William McMichael “Bill” Shepherd
(U.S. Navy SEAL & NASA Astronaut – Retired)
Member – Gryphon Advisory Board

William McMichael “Bill” Shepherd is an American former Navy SEAL, aerospace, ocean, and mechanical engineer, and NASA astronaut who served as Commander of Expedition 1, the first crew on the International Space Station.  He is also a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.  Shepherd has logged over 159 days in space.

Education and Training

Shepherd received a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the United States Naval Academy in 1971.  He completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in 1972, then joined the United States Naval Special Warfare Command and qualified as a Navy SEAL.   He served with the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team ELEVEN, SEAL Teams ONE and TWO, and Special Boat Unit TWENTY.   He obtained an Engineer’s degree in Ocean Engineering and an MS in mechanical engineering in 1978 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

NASA Career

Shepherd was selected for the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1984, as the first military non-aviator in astronaut training, following his unsuccessful application for NASA Astronaut Group 9 in 1980.  In 1986, his Navy SEAL training proved unexpectedly useful to NASA as he helped to direct the underwater salvage operations of the Space Shuttle Challenger after its destruction.  Shepherd then served as a Mission Specialist on three Space Shuttle flights: mission STS-27 in 1988, mission STS-41 in 1990, which deployed the Ulysses probe, and mission STS-52 in 1992.  He was the first member of NASA Astronaut Group 10 to fly a space mission.

From March 1993 to January 1996, he was assigned to the International Space Station Program, serving as Program Manager and Deputy Program Manager.  In November 1995 he was selected to command the first crew of the International Space Station (ISS).  The mission was supposed to launch in 1997, but a long series of political, financial, and technical problems caused significant delays. 

Spaceflight Experience

  • STS-27: Atlantis (December 2–6, 1988) Shepherd served with his crewmates on a mission which lasted 105 hours and carried Department of Defense payloads.
  • STS-41: Discovery (October 6–10, 1990) during 66 orbits of the Earth, the crew aboard the Orbiter successfully deployed the Ulysses, starting it on a four-year journey (via Jupiter) to investigate the polar regions of the Sun.
  • STS-52: Columbia (October 22 to November 1, 1992) was the 10-day mission deployed the Laser Geodynamic Satellite (LAGEOS), and conducted U.S. microgravity payload experiments.
  • ISS Expedition 1  (October 31, 2000 to March 21, 2001)  He and Russian cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergey Krikalev launched from Baikonur on Soyuz TM 31 and served as Expedition 1, the first crew onboard ISS. The crew returned to Earth on the Space Shuttle Discovery, STS 102.

Post-NASA Career

Shepherd was next assigned to the staff of Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, to assist with the development of new capabilities and programs for the Navy’s SEAL and Special Boat units. He retired from the U.S. Navy in January 2002. Captain Shepherd also served as U.S. Special Operations Command’s first Science Advisor from 2008–2011.

Colonel Kevin Merrigan
(U.S. Army – Retired)
Member – Gryphon Advisory Board

Kevin Merrigan is an independent consultant specializing in U.S. Department of Defense with an emphasis on tactical wheeled vehicles and C4ISR including Cyber, AI and Electronic Warfare.

Mr. Merrigan retired as a Vice President at General Dynamics Mission Systems in January 2019 following a very successful 12-year career.  During his career at General Dynamics he held multiple key leadership positions including vice president of business development for the Department of Defense market.   His responsibilities included developing strategies that create new business opportunities and support existing DOD programs.  He was responsible to oversee everything from strategy development through program win and customer engagement.

Prior to this, Mr. Merrigan was vice president and general manager of a $500M per year Battle Management Systems line of business responsible for the overall executive management of complex command and control and information systems for the U.S. military.  Programs under his leadership included the Army’s Command Post of the Future (CPOF), Prophet Enhanced tactical signals intelligence system, Tactical Airspace Integration System (TAIS), Consolidated Product Line Management, the US Marine Corps Combat Operations Centers (COC) and Common Aviation Command and Control Program (CAC2S) and USSOCOM’s Ground Mobility Vehicle as well as others.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in General Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1982.  Mr. Merrigan is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and holds a Master’s Degree in National Security Studies from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

Mr. Merrigan served in the United States Army from 1982 to 2006 and retired with the rank of Colonel.

Dr. Brian L. Kent
Member – Gryphon Advisory Board

Dr. Brian L. Kent has over 20 years of experience supporting the United States Special Operations Command and the Intelligence Community in Program Management and Tech Lead positions.  He is the Senior Director for Business Strategy for Mission Driven Innovation Solutions (MDIS), part of the Technical Solutions Division (TSD) at Huntington Ingalls Industry (HII).  The strategic focus allows the group to continue strategic growth alignment in C6ISR, Military Training, and Modeling & Simulation (M&S).  A key advisor for ISR and IO to the Division.  Previously, he managed the International ISR and IO to the Division.

Previously, he managed the International ISR and S&T Directorate supporting operations around the globe for USSOCOM, USCENTCOM, and USINDOPACOM, while continuing to work with Academia and emerging technology companies.

Dr. Kent was also the Co-Founder and President of K3 Enterprises Inc.  He has more than three decades of experience in the Defense Industry.  He was most recently the manager of a diverse consulting organization with current core competencies in Communications, Analysis (C5ISR), Biometrics, and Training.  His other areas of specialty are as a DARPA Strategic Advisor for Technology Transfer & Transition, Entrepreneurship Professor, Finance and Investing, DoD Acquisition & Defense Contracting. 

Dr, Kent is a Certified ISO 9001:2008 Lead Auditor for Quality Management Systems.  He earned his Master’s Degree in Management Technology for Murray State University and later completed his PhD in Business at Trident University.  His Dissertation focused on Technology Acceptance.

Dr. Kent holds an active Top Secret Department of Defense Security Clearance.