Robert F. Behler was sworn in as Director of Operational Test and Evaluation on December 11, 2017. A Presidential appointee confirmed by the United States Senate, he serves as the senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense on operational and live fire test and evaluation of Department of Defense weapon systems.
Prior to his appointment, he was the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Director of the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a Federally Funded Research and Development Center. SEI is a global leader in advancing software development and cybersecurity to solve the nation's toughest problems through focused research, development, and transition to the broader software engineering community.
Before joining the SEI, Mr. Behler was the President and CEO of SRC, Inc. (formerly the Syracuse Research Corporation). SRC is a not-for-profit research and development corporation with a for-profit manufacturing subsidiary that focuses on radar, electronic warfare and cybersecurity technologies. Prior to working at SRC, Mr. Behler was the General Manager and Senior Vice President of the MITRE Corp where he provided leadership to more than 2,500 technical staff in 65 worldwide locations. He joined MITRE from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory where he was a General Manager for more than 350 scientists and engineers as they made significant contributions to critical Department of Defense (DOD) precision engagement challenges.
General Behler served 31 years in the United States Air Force, retiring as a Major General in 2003. During his military career, he was the Principal Adviser for Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C2ISR) to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force (USAF). International assignments as a general officer included the Deputy Commander for NATO's Joint Headquarters North in Stavanger, Norway. He was the Director of the Senate Liaison Office for the USAF during the 104th congress. Mr. Behler also served as the assistant for strategic systems to the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation. As an experimental test pilot, he flew more than 65 aircraft types. Operationally he flew worldwide reconnaissance missions in the fastest aircraft in the world, the SR-71 Blackbird.
Mr. Behler is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma where he received a B.S. and M.S. in aerospace engineering, has a MBA from Marymount University and was a National Security Fellow at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.
Mr. Behler has recently been on several National Research Council studies for the National Academy of Sciences including: "Critical Code," "Software Producibility, Achieving Effective Acquisition of Information Technology in the Department of Defense" and "Development Planning: A Strategic Approach to Future Air Force Capabilities."