Aerospace Industries Association (AIA)
President and Chief Executive Officer
David F. Melcher is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aerospace Industries Association. AIA, founded in 1919 shortly after the birth of flight, is the most authoritative and influential trade association representing the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, space systems, aircraft engines, homeland and cybersecurity systems, materiel and related components, equipment services and information technology. Melcher joined AIA from Exelis Inc., where he served as Chief Executive Officer and President. In this role, he served four years as a member of AIA’s Executive and Finance Committees.
Following a 32-year career in the U.S. Army, Lieutenant General (Ret.) Melcher joined ITT Corporation first as Vice President, Strategy and Business Development and then as President, ITT Defense and Information Solutions, before becoming the inaugural chief executive at Exelis following its spinoff from ITT in Oct. 2011. Melcher also led Exelis through its recent successful merger with Harris Corporation in May 2015.
Melcher has extensive program management, strategy development and finance experience, and throughout his career has worked closely with key leadership within the Army, Department of Defense, White House, and Congress. His Army career highlights include battalion and brigade command in Infantry and Armored divisions, and high-level military leadership and staff positions. As a general officer, he served in the Pentagon as the Army’s Military Deputy for Budget, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs (G8). He also served as Commanding General of the Corps of Engineers – Southwestern Division in Dallas.
Melcher holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and two masters’ degrees, one in business administration from Harvard University and another in public administration from Shippensburg University. He is a registered professional engineer in New Hampshire, and a former White House Fellow who served as the Executive Assistant for the Director, Office of Management and Budget in the White House. In October 2014, he received the Association of the U.S. Army John W. Dixon award for contributions to the defense industry, and in May 2015 he received the Jill’s House Light of Hope award for contributions to children with disabilities through the Exelis Action Corps program he helped to co-found in 2011.