The Business of Defense in an Age of Austerity: Perspectives from the Mid-Tier

October 2, 2013 - 10:30 am

1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator)
Washington, DC
David F. Melcher
Chief Executive Officer and President
Exelis Inc.
Steven Grundman
M.A. and George Lund Fellow
Atlantic Council
Please join the Atlantic Council for the launch event in its new speaker series, Captains of Industry. The event will feature an address by the CEO of Exelis, David Melcher, on "The Business of Defense in an Age of Austerity: Perspectives from the Mid-Tier." Following his address, Melcher will sit down with Steve Grundman, a former US deputy undersecretary of defense for industrial affairs, to elaborate on his remarks and take questions from the audience.
The business of defense is at an inflection point formed by the confluence of several factors now in flux. Allied militaries are receding from more than a decade of counterinsurgency wars. Fiscal crises are sharply constraining investment in national defense. In turn, the growth story that had inspired capital markets' support of the post-cold-war defense industry is in its last chapter, and the sequel yet lacks a thesis.
Set against this backdrop, the Captains of Industry Series aims to be the preeminent platform from which senior executives whose businesses contribute to national security can address the public interests their companies serve and the public policies that shape participation in these market. The Series will build a record of perspective and thought-leadership about solving problems that lie at the interface of defense ministries and industries. It also will cultivate a transatlantic constituency for the adoption of practical solutions to these problems.

Representatives of the press are welcome, and all the proceedings of this event are on-the-record.

ATTIRE: Business attire is requested.

METRO: Farragut North (Red Line), MacPherson Square (Orange/Blue Line)


10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Program


David Melcher is the ideal executive to launch the Captains of Industry Series. He is CEO and president of Exelis Inc., a global aerospace, defense, and information solutions company with $5.5 billion in sales across four continents. After joining ITT Corporation in 2008, Mr. Melcher served as president of its defense business and led the October 2011 spin-out of ITT Exelis as an independent public company. Prior to his career in business Melcher served a thirty-two-year career in the US Army, from which he retired as a lieutenant general. He commanded battalions and brigades and held the most senior positions on the Army staff responsible for program and budget development. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard and a Master of Public Administration from Shippensburg, and is also a former White House fellow who served as executive assistant to the director of the Office of Management and Budget.