WASHINGTON (May 5, 2022) – The new Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, Mr. William B. (Willie) Nelson, brings space science expertise to the Army as it embarks on its most ambitious modernization effort in decades. A member of the Senior Executive Service, Mr. Nelson serves as the Army’s chief scientist within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (OASA(ALT)). He also serves as the Army’s primary science advisor, providing strategic direction and oversight of basic, applied, and advanced technology development for all Army laboratories and Research, Development and Engineering Centers.
Mr. Nelson’s background includes overseeing development of key technologies that are essential to Multi Domain Operations, says Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, The Honorable Douglas R. Bush. “The Army is undergoing its most significant modernization effort in 40 years, and will benefit from Mr. Nelson’s background in managing complicated programs that are developing and integrating new types of technology.”
Mr. Nelson was most recently director of the Assured Position, Navigation and Timing/Space Cross-Functional Team with Army Futures Command (AFC). Knowing your position and the exact location of your targets is essential to the operation of smart weapons, maintaining safe and secure communications, and conducting operations globally.
Prior to joining AFC, Mr. Nelson served as Director of Programs and Technology at the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) where he directed research, testing, and development of space, missile defense, directed energy, and hypersonic weapon systems. He also served in other roles, including as the Deputy Director and Director of Space and Strategic Systems at the SMDC Technical Center.
He also served for 13 years at the Missile Defense Agency. He held several positions there, including Deputy Chief Engineer.
Mr. Nelson earned a U.S. Air Force commission through ROTC at the University of Texas at Austin, and retired as a Space and Missile Officer after 20 years of combined Active duty and Reserve service. His operational deployments include Operations Northern Watch, Noble Eagle, and Enduring Freedom. He is a graduate of Harvard’s Senior Executives in National and International Security and Oxford’s Advanced Management & Leadership Programs.
“It feels as if my entire career was in preparation for this job,” Mr. Nelson said. "I look forward to working closely with OASA(ALT) leadership, including the Honorable Doug Bush, as well as the entire acquisition and research and development community to help ensure the Army is prepared for the challenges of the future,” he continued.