Santiago ‘Rico’ Vaca serves as a Strategic Advisor at Ferox Strategies where he works on appropriations, defense matters and budgets, and national security concerns.

Rico, who holds a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the United States Air Force Academy and a master’s degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, has specialized in the defense and national security world of Washington, D.C. for two decades. An exceptional leader, strategist, and problem-solving executive, he has advised clients on federal challenges associated with national security programs, from both the operational and commercial perspectives.

As a retired Air Force officer, Rico retains a diverse skill set that includes detailed knowledge of Department of Defense and Homeland Security programs, budgets, and policies across the agencies, with emphasis on procurement, research and development, operations, and their associated funding processes. In addition, Rico maintains a comprehensive knowledge and expertise of the federal budget and appropriations processes gained through his time on Capitol Hill and within the Department of Defense.

After serving as an Air Force fighter pilot with more than 3,200 hours in the F-15C and F-16, Rico worked as a Senior Policy Advisor at the global law firm of Holland & Knight. Shortly thereafter, Rico continued to specialize in the defense and national security sphere when he founded S. Vaca & Associates, where he continues to serve as president. Through his work, Rico sustains long term, high-level relationships with Legislative and Executive branch officials, including Senators, Members of Congress, key congressional committee staff, and general and staff officers across the United States Air Force.

Rico lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with his wife and four boys. He is a lifelong Lakers and Dodgers fan and longs to someday return home to Southern California.