Air Force CTO joining Carnegie Mellon

Major Gen. Paul D. Nielsen, the Air Force's chief technology officer, will retire Aug. 1 to accept a job as chief executive officer and director of Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute.

Nielsen, 53, who also heads the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, manages an Air Force science and technology budget of more than $3 billion annually. He also was instrumental in determining the service's investment strategy for science and technology.

As CEO, Nielson will be responsible for setting a technical and business strategy for the Software Engineering Institute. The institute is a federally funded research and development center that helps organizations make improvements in software engineering.

'I'm really excited about this unique opportunity to be part of the Carnegie Mellon family and leading the SEI,' Nielsen said. 'Science and technology has been extremely important to me throughout my career and we find out more and more that software is at the heart of many military and commercial systems. The SEI has a wonderful reputation of being at the forefront of the software engineering community."

Nielsen succeeds Stephen E. Cross, who left SEI in 2003 to become a vice president at Georgia Institute of Technology and the director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

Nielsen is a graduate of the Air Force Academy. He has a master's in applied science from the University of California at Davis and an M.B.A. from the University of New Mexico. Nielsen also has a doctorate in plasma physics from the University of California at Davis.

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