Virginia Tech® home

Roni Modica

AOE Advisory Board
  • B.S., Aerospace Engineering, Virginia Tech
Roni Modica

Ms. Roni Modica is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Xceptional Innovations and Consulting, Inc. Ms. Modica started her company in January 2020 to consult and to inspire the next generation of engineers while developing innovative aerospace concepts and prototypes for defense, national security and commercial applications. Ms. Modica is mentoring and working on innovative projects with numerous college engineering students at various universities. She holds a Top Secret / Secret Compartmented Information clearance.

Prior to starting her company, Ms. Modica retired in 2019 after working for the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community for over 32 years. From 2014-2019, she was a Defense Intelligence Senior Level Executive serving as a technical advisor for space and missile defense activities in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (OUSD(I)). OUSD(I) is the Department of Defense (DoD) organization responsible for providing oversight and policy guidance for all DoD intelligence activities.

Ms. Modica was selected by the Deputy Secretary of Defense to serve as the Director, Special Program for Missile Defeat (SPMD) from 2016-2018. The SPMD was part of the Department's Defense Innovation Initiative focused on developing game changing capabilities in record time to counter U.S. adversaries’ use of road mobile missiles to threaten our homeland, deployed armed forces and our allies. In 2017, Ms. Modica led a small, high performing team of individuals from across the government, services, national labs, universities, and industry to develop innovative solutions to address this top national security challenge across the entire kill chain. In less than 18 months, Ms. Modica's team developed and demonstrated new capabilities and delivered new innovation solutions integrated with operational systems to deployed military forces to address mobile missiles and other time critical targeting needs. For her accomplishments, Ms. Modica received the Department of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award from Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in 2017 and the 2018 Presidential Rank Award from President Trump.

Prior to her position in DoD, Ms. Modica spent nearly three years at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) working as a Technical Intelligence Officer in the Office of Global Access in the Directorate for Science and Technology (DS&T). She was the program manager for one of the CIA DS&T’s largest development efforts.

From 2002-2012, Ms. Modica held several positions at the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). She served as the Agency’s first Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Space Architect reporting to the Director of Engineering and was responsible for concept development, prototyping, testing and acquisition for the BMDS space layer. Ms. Modica also served as the MDA liaison to the Intelligence Community (IC) responsible for establishing partnerships to identify, demonstrate, and integrate intelligence capabilities that could support the missile defense mission. She was the program manager for multiple classified advanced technology programs that evolved from her IC liaison role. Ms. Modica delivered one of MDA's most successful advanced technology demonstration programs. Ms. Modica also served as the Director for Systems Engineering and Integration for Special Programs and as the Chief Engineer for the Kinetic Energy Boost Phase Interceptor program.

From 1987-2002, Ms. Modica was an engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, NAVSEA Dahlgren Division. She led multiple engineering efforts in support of the development and certification of various Navy systems, including TRIDENT II, TOMAHAWK, AEGIS, Standard Missile, and the Navy Anti- Satellite (ASAT) Program. In 1999, Ms. Modica received the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award for her leadership and technical contributions to the Navy Theater Ballistic Missile Defense System. Ms. Modica started her career with the Navy as a participant in the Federal Government’s Cooperative Education Program in 1987 as a college sophomore engineering student.

Ms. Modica received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. In October 2019, the university inducted Ms. Modica into the Academy of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Excellence in recognition of her career accomplishments.