North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Admiral Nielson was born February 25, 1955 in Dorsten, Germany. He joined the German Navy as a reserve officer candidate and graduated from Helmut Schmidt University of the Bundeswehr in Hamburg in 1978 and completed underwater weapons specialist training in 1981.
Early assignments included tours as a watch officer on coastal minesweepers Koblenz and Wetzlar, minehunters Flensburg, Cuxhaven and Koblenz and subsequently command tours of Tübingen and Paderborn. He also served as an action officer for the Armed Forces Staff at the Federal Ministry of Defence and Deputy Commander of the 6th Minesweeper Squadron in Wilhelmshaven.
Admiral Nielson has commanded units at all levels. From 1996 to 1997 he commanded the 6th Minesweeper Squadron and following his promotion to Rear Admiral (lower half), served as Commandant of the Naval Academy in Flensburg from 2003 to 2005 where he deployed to Commander Task Force 150 during Operation Enduring Freedom. Promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral in 2010, he was appointed Commander in Chief of the German Fleet in Glücksburg.
Other significant tours include service as Chief of Division I Personnel, Social Services and Central Affairs Directorate of the Federal Ministry of Defence and later as the Director of Armed Forces Staff. In April 2012 he was appointed Chief of staff Joint Support Service of the Bundeswehr and in April 2016 he assumed duties as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.
Admiral Nielson holds a Master Degree in Economics and Organisational Sciences and is a graduate of the Admiral Staff Officer Course at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College in Hamburg. His personal awards including the Badge of Honour of the Bundeswehr in Gold, German Armed Forces Deployment Medal and the German Flood Service Medal.
Admiral Nielson is married and has an adult son and an adult daughter.