Mr. David M. Altwegg, the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Executive Director since 2008, will retire from Federal service this month after 64 years of service to the nation. A member of the Senior Executive Service since 1987, he has been assigned to MDA since 2002. As the MDA Executive Director he is the highest ranking civilian within the Agency, providing oversight, leadership, direction and guidance to all MDA functional staff, ensuring the effective integration and organization of all MDA functions required to develop and sustain an effective Ballistic Missile Defense System program. He also serves as a key interface to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Military Services and the Congress.
A retired Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Altwegg was appointed to the Senior Executive Service on Jan. 15, 1987. He served in various positions of increasing responsibility in the U.S. Navy, leading the development of complex combat systems, and culminating with his appointment as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Theater Combat Systems. He reported to MDA in August 2002 and served as the Deputy for Program Integration and as the Deputy for Agency Operations before assuming his current position as MDA’s Executive Director. He is the senior advisor to the MDA Director on all issues relating to the Agency's policy and management activities, including responsibility for an approximate annual budget of more than $8 billion.
As a Naval Officer, his five command tours include USS MAHAN (DLG-11); USS HORNE (DLG-30); Naval Ship Weapon Systems Engineering Station, Port Hueneme, Calif.; Pacific Missile Test Center at Pt. Mugu, Calif. and Cruiser Destroyer Group TWO. After more than 38 years in uniform, Rear Admiral Altwegg retired from military service on November 1, 1985, having earned distinct honors including the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and the Vietnamese Naval Advisory Award, Second Class with rosette. He is also authorized to wear the China Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal with two stars, and the United Nations Service Medal.
In addition to his military awards, he has been awarded the Presidential rank of Meritorious Executive in the Senior Executive Service, and has twice been awarded the Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive in the Senior Executive Service. He was also honored by American University’s School of Public Affairs with the Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership, and he is a recipient of National Defense Industrial Association’s Missile Defense Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Pathfinder Award.
He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1952; the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and received a Master of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also a graduate of the Navy Nuclear Power Training Program and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.