By John Nolan, Staff Writer

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Todd Stewart, a retired Air Force major general and former director of plans and programs for the Air Force Materiel Command, will be installed as leader of the Air Force Institute of Technology next month, officials said Thursday.

On May 8, Stewart is to become director and chancellor of AFIT, new titles for the head position at the Air Force post-graduate school on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The lead position has been commandant, the title used for the job’s current occupant, Col. Timothy Lawrence.

A civilian chancellor is a new position for AFIT, the Air Force’s post-graduate education school. As envisioned, a civilian chancellor could stay in the job longer than the typical one- to three-year tour of duty for military commandants, which would give a chancellor more time to shape the school’s long-term direction.

The change for AFIT’s command structure was made to more closely reflect the command structure of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., officials said.

Once Stewart is in place, he will address how to proceed with the positions of provost and commandant, as well as the next step for Lawrence, in consultation with Lt. Gen. David Fadok, commander of Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., the parent organization of AFIT, Wright-Patterson spokesman Daryl Mayer said.

Stewart’s 34-year Air Force career included prior assignments at Wright-Patt as associate professor of management at AFIT and command civil engineer and director of plans and programs at AFMC headquarters.

AFIT awards master’s and doctoral degrees in defense-focused studies and conducts scientific and national security-related research.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, have introduced legislation to set standards for the appointment of both civilian and military leadership for AFIT.

The Secretary of the Air Force also agreed to all expansion of AFIT so that the school can enroll government and non-government civilian personnel in its programs.

Turner presented the language in the FY11 National Defense Authorization Act.

“I am committed to finding new investment opportunities at Wright-Patt and AFIT is an obvious place to begin. This is the kind of public/private sector partnership that makes sense in our changing economy and will build on assets already in place,” said Turner.