National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA and U.S. Air Force get an “A” in collaboration

May 11, 2018

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Dr. Kevin Greenaugh lecturing at US Air Force Academy
Dr. Kevin Greenaugh teaches an Air Force Academy class about the Nuclear Posture Review

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DOD) are inextricably linked. The two agencies work hand-in-hand to maintain national security through stewardship of our nuclear stockpile. This integration extends beyond foundational collaboration initiatives likes the Nuclear Weapons Council – all the way to the classroom.

Dr. Kevin Greenaugh, Assistant Deputy Administrator for Strategic Partnership Programs and Science Council Chair, recently taught three classes at the United States Air Force (USAF) Academy in Colorado as a guest lecturer for the Nuclear Weapons Minor program.

Air Force Academy guest lecture PowerPoint slide
Slide from Dr. Kevin Greenaugh’s presentation about the Nuclear Posture Review

“This program is designed to train the next generation of physicists, some of which will be the next stewards of the nuclear stockpile, and lead the development of policy on nuclear deterrence,” Dr. Greenaugh said.

Since its creation in 2015, the USAF Academy’s minor degree in Nuclear Weapons and Strategy has been supported by NNSA. The program was created through a collaboration with the three weapons national laboratories – Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia Labs – and continues to feature guest lectures by NNSA subject matter experts. 

Dr. Greenaugh is one such expert. He holds a doctorate in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Maryland and has over 35 years of experience in the Nuclear Security Enterprise. He is also no stranger to teaching – Greenaugh has been an adjunct professor at Howard University for over 25 years.

In addition to a lecture on political science and the Nuclear Posture Review, Dr. Greenaugh taught two classified physics classes in which he was able to explain the intersection between policy and weapons physics. Cadets in the minor program must have a Secret security clearance.

The Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor includes lessons on the history and science behind nuclear energy and an in-depth look at U.S. policy and objectives for nuclear capabilities and deterrence. Field trips to the National Laboratories are also part of the curriculum. 

This program is just one example of the multifaceted and enduring interagency integration that exists between DOE and DOD. The Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, the execution of Life Extension Program qualification flight tests, and the deployable Aerial Measuring System capability stationed at both Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Joint Base Andrews near Washington, D.C. are a few of the more notable instances.