Executive Mosaic has the honor of unveiling David Fastabend, vice president and general manager of Advanced Information Solutions (AIS) at Exelis, as the newest inductee into the Wash100, the premier group of leaders who drive innovation and growth at the intersection of the public and private sectors.
He joined the McLean, Va.-based defense technology maker in January 2011 after a long career in the U.S. Army that culminated with service as a general officer and direction of Army Strategy and Policy on the Army General Staff.
Fastabend now leads Exelis’ AIS business unit, leading over 1300 employees that work to enable Exelis to deliver affordable, essential mission solutions in the critical networks and ISR/analytics market space.
In a May 2012 conversation with ExecutiveBiz, Fastabend described some of the challenges posed in the cyber realm as going beyond the technologies themselves, rather touching all aspects of society-at-large.
“The cultural dilemma for us is that we have a default assumption that cyber problems are simply the latest phase of industrial modernization and that cyber challenges are linear problems,” he said.
“Computers are complicated machines, to be sure, but cyber problems are non-linear and manifest themselves like biological problems more than mechanical ones.”
His first role at Exelis after retiring from the military was one of a strategist at the company’s headquarters, which he described to GovCon Exec as “the most natural transition I could have hoped for.”
While in the Army, Fastabend took on assignments such as director of strategic operations in Iraq (2006-2007), head of the Corps of Engineers’ Northwestern Division and TRADOC Director of Concepts Development and Experimentation.
This background called on him to constantly adapt to new surroundings but also retain common lessons learned from those experiences.
“Large organizations may have distinct environments but certain constants endure: the need to trust and leverage subordinates, while working as hard as possible to set conditions for their success,” he said.
“The need for adaptation is continuous, in all professions and at all levels. I love watching the ideas get put on the table and then seeing how they bear up under scrutiny. At the end of that process, the outcome is inevitably improved.”
Fastabend serves on the cyber division at the National Defense-Industrial Association and is a certified professional engineer in the state of Virginia.
He holds a bachelor’s agree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a master’s degree in military science from the Command and General Staff College and a second master’s in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.