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Robert Behler to Join SEI Leadership as Chief Operating Officer


May 15, 2012—On June 4, 2012, Robert Behler will assume the role of chief operating officer (COO) at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI). Behler will succeed Clyde Chittister, who retired in September 2011 after more than 25 years of service, and Peter Menniti, who has been serving as the SEI’s acting COO. In his new role, Behler will manage a research and development budget exceeding $100 million annually. He will also oversee SEI programs addressing engineering process, architecture, interoperability, acquisition, and security and how these programs relate to software-intensive systems.

“I’m very pleased Bob is joining the SEI management team,” said Paul Nielsen, SEI director and chief executive officer. “As a retired Air Force major general who has also served in the federally funded research and development center sector, Bob comes to the SEI armed with deep operational experience and proven leadership, particularly in the areas of systems requirements, analysis, and acquisition. I look forward to working with Bob.”

Before joining the Software Engineering Institute, Behler was president and CEO of SRC, a not-for-profit research and development corporation with a for-profit manufacturing subsidiary. Prior to his work with SRC, Behler was general manager and senior vice president of the MITRE Corporation, where he led more than 2,500 technical staff in 65 worldwide locations.

Behler joined MITRE from Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, where he supervised more than 350 scientists and engineers as they made significant contributions to critical DoD challenges. During this time, Behler helped develop new and emerging technologies into transformational operational capabilities.

Behler retired as a major general from the Air Force in 2003, after 31 years of service. During his military career, he was the principal C2ISR adviser to the secretary and chief of staff of the United States Air Force, and the deputy commander for Joint Headquarters North, NATO, in Norway. He was an experimental test pilot and flew more than 65 aircraft types including the SR-71 Blackbird and U-2. Behler is an Associate Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and a member of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and Air Force Association. 

“This is a career high point,” said Behler, “and I am honored to be joining the world-class team at the SEI. I look forward to working with the SEI management and staff. And I’m excited about joining a team with the international reputation and impact that the SEI enjoys.”