General Lord entered the Air Force in 1969 as a graduate of the Otterbein College ROTC program. He completed a series of Air Staff and Department of Defense-level assignments in strategic missiles after serving four years of Minuteman II ICBM alert duty. He directed the Ground-Launched Cruise Missile Program Management Office in Europe. He was a Military Assistant to the Director of Net Assessment with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and represented the Air Force as a research associate in international security affairs at Ohio State University. General Lord commanded two ICBM wings in Wyoming and North Dakota. In California he commanded a space wing responsible for satellite launch and ballistic missile test launch operations. He served as Director of Plans and as Vice Commander for Headquarters Air Force Space Command.
General Lord led Air Force education and training as Commandant of Squadron Officer School, Commander of 2nd Air Force, Commander of Air University and Director of Education for Air Education and Training Command. Prior to assuming command of Space Command, he was the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff for Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
General Lord retired from the Air Force on April 1, 2006. General Lord is noe CEO of L2 Aerospace, a new company committed to integrating space, air, ground and cyber capabilities and effects for government, civil and commercial customers. General Lord also serves as a board member of the Marotta Corporation, the Sletten Construction Company and a senior associate of the Four Star Group and is a member of the Presidential Commission on Space Based Position Navigation and Timing. General Lord is an advisor to the DeskTop Alert Corporation and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Challenger Learning Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.