The Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase and the DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) are activated by DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). These DSBs occur in the context of chromatin but how chromatin influences the activation of these kinases is not known. Here we show that loss of the replication-dependent chromatin assembly factors ASF1A/B or CAF-1 compromises ATM activation, while augmenting DNA-PKcs activation, in response to DNA DSBs. Cells deficient in ASF1A/B or CAF-1 exhibit reduced histone H4 lysine 16 acetylation (H4K16ac), a histone mark known to promote ATM activation. ASF1A interacts with the histone acetyl transferase, hMOF that mediates H4K16ac. ASF1A depletion leads to increased recruitment of DNA-PKcs to DSBs. We propose normal chromatin assembly and H4K16ac during DNA replication is required to regulate ATM and DNA-PKcs activity in response to the subsequent induction of DNA DSBs.