Press Release

Firefly Aerospace Announces New Board of Directors

By SpaceRef Editor
February 3, 2021
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Firefly Aerospace today announced the appointment of Deborah Lee James and Robert Cardillo to its Board of Directors.  Firefly’s new three-person board, including Firefly CEO, Dr. Tom Markusic, will be led by Ms. James, serving as Chairman of the Board. 

Deborah Lee James has a three-decade track record in national security, including 20 years of U.S. government service, with time on Capitol Hill as a professional staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives and two tours in the Pentagon, first as an Assistant Secretary of Defense and later as the Secretary of the Air Force. As Secretary, Ms. James also was the Principal Defense Space Advisor.  She has led large industry teams in support of the military, most notably as President of the Technical and Engineering Sector of SAIC, responsible for $2 billion in Defense contract revenue and 8,700 employees.  Ms. James is the author of the leadership book “Aim High: Chart Your Course and Find Success”; and serves on the boards of various organizations including Textron, Unisys, Noblis, the Penfed Foundation and LeanIn.Org.

Robert Cardillo is president of The Cardillo Group, LLC, delivering strategic and operational expertise to create an enhanced awareness of planet Earth to enable improved decision-making. Before forming TCG in May 2019, Mr. Cardillo was the sixth Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency from 2014 until 2019. He led transformation of the Agency’s future value proposition through innovative partnerships with the growing commercial geospatial marketplace. During his 35+ years of public service, Robert served in leadership positions within the organization of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“We are thrilled to have Debbie and Robert join the Firefly Board of Directors,” said Dr. Markusic.  “Their guidance will be critical as Firefly transitions from a rapid product development company to an integrated provider of launch, in-space, and lunar mission services for commercial, civil, and national security space customers. Their experience in the private sector and as leaders of critical U.S. government organizations will enable Firefly to fully realize our corporate objective of becoming the preeminent end-to-end space transportation company in the nation’s small space industrial base.”

Concurrently, with the addition of the new board of directors, Firefly intends to implement an internal restructuring of the company.  “These corporate changes will reflect the strategic objectives of Firefly and assure focus and resources are properly allocated to effectively develop our core spacecraft and launch vehicle product lines,’’ added Dr. Markusic.  “In particular, we intend to segregate launchers and spacecraft as dedicated business units and greatly expand our business development and government relations team in Washington, D.C.”


He continued, “The number of employees at Firefly has nearly doubled over the last year, and we continue to aggressively recruit top technical talent to develop our next-generation spacecraft and rockets.  We will also be conducting a nationwide executive talent search over the coming months to provide strong leadership for the new business units.  Space is expected to be the fastest growing industry of the twenty-first century, and Firefly is determined to be perfectly positioned to lead the way in this new emerging space economy.”

SpaceRef staff editor.