Rick "Ozzie" Nelson

Senior Associate (Non-resident), International Security Program
Associated Programs: International Security Program

Rick “Ozzie” Nelson is vice president and general manager for public sector at MicroStrategy, a former director of the CSIS Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program, and currently a nonresident senior associate at CSIS. He previously served as vice president for public sector at BlueCat Networks and as vice president for federal at Crossmatch. He is a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot with over 20 years of operational and intelligence experience, including assignments at the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). He joined CSIS in September 2009, after retiring from the Navy, where he served in a variety of senior policy and operational positions. His last military assignment was with the Joint Special Operations Command. In 2005, he was selected to serve as an inaugural member in the NCTC Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning. Prior to that, he served as associate director for maritime security in the Office of Combating Terrorism on the NSC staff at the White House, where he led the development of the National Strategy for Maritime Security. Other career assignments have included counterterrorism team leader in Deep Blue, the Navy’s operational think tank created after September 11; Navy legislative fellow for Senator Edward M. Kennedy; assistant aviation officer community manager; and flag aide in Okinawa, Japan, to the commander of naval amphibious forces in the Western Pacific. He is operationally trained in naval helicopter strike warfare in the SH-60B Seahawk and SH-2F Seasprite helicopters, and he has deployed around the world and flown in support of numerous operations. Nelson graduated from the George Washington University with a B.A. in political science, holds an M.A. in national security studies from Georgetown University, and is a graduate of the Naval War College. He is an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University, where he teaches courses on homeland security and counterterrorism. He is also a frequent contributor to media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, CBS, CNN, and ABC, among others.