retired Colonel Rob Maness has a life long record of providing dedicated service to the nation. He made the decision as a 17-year-old high school senior to enlist in the United States Air Force and serve in uniform as the country faced multiple crises around the world. Having worked his way up from the enlisted ranks to full colonel, he retired from active duty in 2011, ending his military service of more than 32 years. Following military retirement Rob returned to Louisiana to work as an executive in a Fortune 500 energy CORPORATION. He is currently the owner of Iron Liberty Group and resides in Madisonville, Louisiana.
Rob has proven his competence at the local, state, and federal levels of government with his demonstrated leadership and effectiveness as a steward of our citizen's tax dollars. He has broad experience working at the Louisiana State Legislature, in the national budget process, national emergency response decision-making, law enforcement, successful community relations with governments at all levels, and working directly with citizens to meet today's challenges. He has provided direct, executive oversight to local schools in coordination with elected school boards, working to make them secure and more effective to meet the needs of America's military children. His leadership and combat experiences give him a unique perspective when considering how national action impacts our American families.
Active in the community, Rob is an elected member of the Republican Party Executive Committee representing St. Tammany Parish Council District 1 and serves on the board of the only Republican Men's Club in Louisiana.
During his military service, Colonel Maness led numerous combat operations, including as a bomber squadron commander in Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Colonel Maness served as an enlisted bomb disposal technician in three assignments countering terrorism before being commissioned and selected for flight training. As a Joint Chiefs of Staff operations officer he was on duty in the National Military Command Center located within the Pentagon during the September 11, 2001 attack. In the ensuing months, he directly assisted the United States national security team with creating, synchronizing, and executing the campaign plan for the global war on terrorism. Colonel Maness authored the first theater nuclear war plan and designed decision-making tools for the Presidential nuclear decision handbook strengthening U.S. extended strategic deterrence policy in European and Pacific regions. Colonel Maness served as the Vice Commander of America's largest Airborne Intelligence Wing conducting strategic and battlefield intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations against America's enemies. He went on to command Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, NM, the sixth largest U.S. Air Force Base encompassing 53,000 acres and 22,000 employees, housing our nation’s most critical assets.
After running for the U.S. Senate, Rob founded GatorPAC, a Federal political action committee. The PAC educates grass roots political activists on the most effective ways to influence their elected officials, get a candidate elected, or to fight for a cause. It advocates for policies that protect your liberty, fight for limited government, and ensure prosperity. He is also a founding board member at the Military Advocacy Project of Louisiana, Inc., a veteran's advocacy group committed to preventing veteran suicides and ensuring military families have equal access to benefits. He has served as a non-voting board member of the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and Hispano Chamber of Commerce in his role as Commander of Kirtland AFB. As president of his local chapter of the Military Officer's Association of America, he led a team that created an annual scholarship fund for graduating high school students. Rob is a Life Member of the NRA, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and the Military Officer's Association of America. He is also a member of the Louisiana Military Order of Foreign Wars and the Society of the Sons of the Revolution.
Rob graduated Cum Laude at the University of Tampa and holds master's degrees from Harvard University's Kennedy School, the Air Command and Staff College, and the US College of Naval Warfare.
His military awards and combat decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and Air Medal.
Rob is married to the former Candy Smith. They have five children, including three sons serving in the military (one active US Navy, one a former US Army guardsman, one active US Air Force), and five grandchildren. They are members of the First Baptist Church, Covington Louisiana.