Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center leader selected for first star

  • Published
  • By Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center Public Affairs
  • Kirtland PA

An Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center colonel has been nominated for the rank of brigadier general.

Colonel John Olson, a U.S. Air Force Reservist, was nominated for the promotion this month by the President, pending Senate confirmation.

Since August 2017, Olson has been the mobilization assistant to the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center commander at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. In this position, he helps direct the Air Force’s nuclear modernization, acquisition, and sustainment programs with more than 1,100 personnel at 18 locations worldwide.  These programs include ICBMs, air-launched cruise missiles, gravity bombs, and nuclear command-and-control communications.

“John is an outstanding example of the quality of personnel assigned to the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center,” said Maj. Gen. Shaun Morris, AFNWC commander and Air Force program executive officer for strategic systems.  “His depth of leadership in military, government and business spheres, as well as his expertise in science and technology, are proven assets for our mission of delivering nuclear capabilities to the warfighter.”

Prior to his current assignment, Olson was the individual mobilization augmentee to the program executive officer for agile combat support at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.  While serving the Air Force, he has held numerous command and leadership roles in air, space, acquisition, test and munitions.  He is a graduate of the Air Force Test Pilot School, Defense Language Institute, and Harvard Senior Executive Fellows Program.  He also has 25 years of federal service, including the senior executive service, which culminated as the assistant director for space and aeronautics in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

As a civilian, Dr. Olson is a vice president and general manager for a large public Fortune 500 corporation.  He also serves on the National Academies’ Air and Space Engineering Board and the National Academy of Science’s Intelligence Science and Technology Expert Working Group. 

A native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who currently lives in Lakeville, Minnesota, with his family, Olson graduated in 1992 with military distinction from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with bachelor’s degrees in engineering sciences and mechanical engineering.  He has two master’s degrees in engineering disciplines from the Universities of Illinois and Tennessee, plus a doctorate in industrial and systems engineering from Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.