Executive Mosaic is honored to introduce Rob Zitz, senior vice president and chief systems architect of Leidos’ national security sector, as the newest inductee into the Washington 100, the premier group of leaders who drive innovation and growth at the intersection of the public and private sectors.
Zitz jumped to the industry side of GovCon in August 2011 after spending more than 30 years in the intelligence community, most recently as deputy director of the mission support directorate within the National Reconnaissance Office.
A former Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Zitz’s government career included time as the first Deputy Under Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security and the first Deputy Associate Director of the Secret Service.
In his current role, Zitz focuses on turning innovations into delivered capabilities and is shaping solutions for multi-INT, activity-based intelligence, big data, multi-level-security, mobility and cybersecurity.
“My approach is to imagine and articulate the steps needed to keep organizations always relevant to their customers, and then galvanize support from senior leadership and employees in order to turn strategy into funded reality,” Zitz told GovCon Exec.
“I split my time between talking to our customers and working inside the company ensuring our business development, marketing, internal research and development, and operations managers are synchronized with respect to the customer’s requirements.”
When leading his organization in these fields, Zitz has a bevy of experience from which to draw from additional senior leader and management positions in the U.S. Army, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency.
Zitz began his government career supporting Delta Force in the Army as a counter-intelligence analyst before quickly rising through the ranks to SES-6 in the intelligence community.
He would eventually push and implement the integration of full-motion video across the intelligence community, usher in the first Multi-INT projects and modernize Army intelligence by increasing the integration of national and tactical intelligence systems.
Pushing the envelope of what can be accomplished is a hallmark of Zitz’s work. Over his time in government, he was responsible for building DHS cybersecurity and infrastructure protection programs and establishing national computer forensics capabilities to expand the capabilities of law enforcement at all levels.
Zitz was also thought leader behind the formation of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, NGA, and of geospatial intelligence as a formal discipline.
Prior to holding his current position, Zitz held the same title within the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance group at SAIC, which split into two independent, publicly traded companies on Sept. 27.
Leidos was formed out of that split into a $6B contractor with 23,000 employees, 10,500 of whom holds security clearances. “Our transformation has unlocked our potential,” Zitz said. “Before, we were 1,000 flowers blooming and faced internal competition. Leidos now has optimized portfolios, shared resources and leveraged technology.”
“Freed from most organizational conflict of interest concerns, we are pursuing more business. We are designed to cost. We are return-focused with our capital deployments, and we will return more cash to our shareholders.”
Zitz characterizes Leidos as a science and technology solutions leader that works to address some of the world’s toughest challenges in national security, health, and engineering, such as defending U.S. digital and physical infrastructure from ‘new world’ threats.
Among other areas, Zitz singled out Leidos as a provider of:
- research, development and solutions for the Defense Department in C4ISR: command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
- healthcare information technology, electronic health records, advanced data analytics, and health and life science research
- energy grid and critical infrastructure design and integration