General McKiernan was born in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from the College of William & Mary with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1972, commissioned on active duty in the US Army where he served for 37 years. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Shippensburg University and an honorary doctorate in public service from the College of William & Mary.
GEN McKiernan commanded at every level from 2d Lieutenant to 4-Star General. He served in Korea, Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the United States. Senior level commands included all coalition land forces that attacked into Iraq in 2003 and removed Saddam Hussein from power (OIF 1), all US Army Europe forces from 2005-8, and all NATO and US forces in Afghanistan from 2008-9 (OEF).
Following retirement in 2009, General McKiernan serves on various board positions, still trains and mentors Army leaders, and advises multiple veterans' organizations pro bono. He is delighted to serve on the Board of Trustees for the On Course Foundation, and remains a lifelong student of golf.
GEN (Ret) McKiernan and his wife, Carmen, reside in Marblehead MA. They have three grown children (two of which serve as Captains in the US Army) and two grandchildren.