James Faist Director Defense Research and Engineering for Advanced Capabilities



Recognized expert in advanced technologies in the field of defense

James "Jim" A. Faist is a recognized expert in advanced sensors, weapons, and electronic warfare for space, air, and ground capabilities, with an extensive and distinguished career in industry and government in national defense. He has been recognized through progressive responsibilities and experience in military operations, advanced technologies, system development, engineering leadership, and program management. Jim is a member of the Board of Directors of Trident Systems Inc., Rapid Flight Inc.  and Stratolaunch Systems, Inc. He received the Exceptional Public Service award from the Office of Secretary of Defense in 2021.  

Jim is currently the President of Faist Advisory LLC providing consulting services to the US government and the US defense industry. 

Jim was the first Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Advanced Capabilities in 2018, reporting directly to the Under Secretary of Defense Research and Engineering within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) until 2021. Jim directed an organization whose mission is to recognize, explore, and force the development and integration of new technology to maintain U.S. technological superiority. He was responsible for establishing a Department of Defense joint mission engineering capability, oversight of developmental testing and test facilities as well as demonstration and validation of technology prototype and rapid fielding activities.  Jim served as the mission area advisor for warfighter portfolios in hypersonics, space, autonomy, and networked command, control, and communication architectures.  He also provided independent technical risk assessments of all major acquisition programs.   

After departing OSD was the Vice President, Chief Technology Officer for Lucent Government Solutions (LGS) Labs part of CACI International leading the development of advanced 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), electronic warfare, cyber, and communications technologies in support of future intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities for the Intelligence Community (IC) and the Department of Defense (DOD) until starting his own firm in 2022.  

Previous to his appointment at the Department of Defense, Jim was chief engineer for the Northrop Grumman and Harris Corporations advanced technology developments.  He held senior executive positions at Schafer Corporation, Trident Systems Incorporated, and System Planning Corporation.  Prior to his work in the industry, he served in the United States Air Force as a Weapons Systems Officer and an Electronic Warfare Officer in the F-4D/E Phantom II fighter aircraft. 

Jim earned a Bachelor of Science with honors in Electrical Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, with emphasis on microwave and power systems. During his career he received numerous performance awards and honors from the U.S. Air Force, academia, and industry and is a recognized speaker in his field. 

Select awards of particular note include the Exceptional Public Service by the Office of Secretary of Defense and the US Air Force Top Gun, the highest competitive unit award, which he won twice in his specialty.