WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of Defense Ash Carter honored Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz with the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award, the department’s highest civilian honor. Secretary Carter presented the award to Secretary Moniz at a ceremony at the Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters in Washington, D.C., in recognition of Secretary Moniz’s leadership in strengthening the partnership between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the DOE in support of vital national security missions. 

“We face a nuclear landscape that continues to pose challenges,” Carter said. “Secretary Moniz has been a key player in helping to shape that landscape for decades, and for the better. He’s led numerous international efforts to counter proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, engaging international partners to improve nuclear safeguards, and made verifiable nuclear reductions. 

“He also personally played an instrumental role in the technical analysis and negotiations to secure the historic deal that is preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. And of course supporting our nuclear deterrent mission and collaborating with DoD and all of our scientific challenges is only a part of what DOE does every day on behalf of the country.”

The Distinguished Public Service Award is the DoD’s highest honor for private citizens and non-career public servants. This award to Secretary Moniz, Carter said, underscores the fact that America’s nuclear deterrent is the bedrock of national security and the highest priority mission of the Department of Defense. This year, Secretary Carter also presented the award to former Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and Henry Kissinger; former National Security Advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft; former Sen. John Warner; Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.

“I am honored to accept this award from Ash Carter, a friend, a colleague, and an outstanding public servant,” Moniz said at the ceremony. “And especially in front of this audience that shares in this award. It recognizes how the men and women of the Departments of Defense and Energy work together to ensure America’s national security. We are proud to partner with DoD, uniformed and civilian, in sustaining the deterrent through our shared commitment to technology, innovation, and science.” 

Secretary Carter and Secretary Moniz emphasized the investments DoD and DOE have partnered to make in the technology, people, and infrastructure that supports the nation’s nuclear deterrence and security. Carter commended the departments’ shared devotion to what he called the “American approach,” where we recognize a problem and work to solve it. 

“Because of the American approach you’ve led here and in the DoD-DOE partnership, you have helped ensure that millions and millions of our fellow countrymen can get up in the morning, go to school, go to work, live their lives, dream their dreams, they can give their children a better future…” Carter said.

Secretary Moniz also emphasized that DOE-DoD symbiosis goes well beyond sustaining the deterrent: securing and eliminating nuclear materials that could fall into the hands of terrorists; shared responsibility for nuclear propulsion of aircraft carriers and submarines; national laboratory innovation supporting the broader nation security and intelligence communities. He also noted how the DOE’s responsibility for clean energy innovation, energy infrastructure and global energy security support national security, as has been emphasized by military leaders.   

Secretary Moniz has served as Energy Secretary since May 2013. Prior to his nomination, he was the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he also has served as head of the physics department and Bates Linear Accelerator Center; founder of the MIT Energy Initiative; and Director of the MIT Laboratory for Energy and the Environment.

He also served as Under Secretary of Energy from 1997 until 2001, where his work included a review of nuclear weapons stewardship and negotiations over the disposition of Russian nuclear materials. He served from 1995 to 1997 as Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.