The Department of Energy (DOE) and NNSA’s missions extend to every corner of the globe. To better facilitate international cooperation and further nuclear energy and national security initiatives, NNSA’s Office of International Operations stations foreign affairs specialists at a number of U.S. Embassies and Missions to International Organizations around the world.
Jac Goodman, Nuclear Energy Attaché at the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna (UNVIE), is one such specialist. Goodman supports the U.S. Ambassador to UNVIE and DOE/NNSA program offices on a wide range of issues related to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) work in the area of nuclear energy. While back at headquarters for consultations, he recently gave a lunchtime presentation to fellow employees interested in foreign affairs careers.
In commenting on the type of skills needed for attaché postings, Goodman explained that past experience with international cooperation, both bilateral and multilateral is key, and experience with logistics, scheduling, and crisis management is critical. He also explained that knowing how to obtain information from key points of contacts across the DOE/NNSA complex can be just as important as having subject matter expertise. Goodman stressed that experience engaging with multiple offices across the Department and the broader U.S. Government interagency is crucial as well.
At UNVIE, Goodman regularly engages with the IAEA’s Departments of Nuclear Energy and Technical Cooperation, counterparts at the Permanent Missions of other IAEA Member States, and various technical experts attending IAEA meetings. Goodman’s key stakeholders back in Washington, D.C. include NNSA as well as DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, DOE’s Office of Environmental Management, the National Laboratories, the U.S. State Department, the National Security Council, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
UNVIE’s mission is to “advance U.S. policies at the IAEA and strengthen its activities related to nuclear energy and peaceful uses, nuclear security, and safeguards.” On any given day, Goodman could be expected to negotiate policy documents, interact with IAEA officials and staff regarding projects receiving DOE/NNSA budgetary contributions, support the UNVIE ambassador in her engagement with the IAEA and with other Permanent Missions in Vienna, and keep U.S. Government stakeholders up to date on IAEA activities and developments.
The major IAEA activities that fall under Goodman’s portfolio include support for peaceful nuclear power programs – nuclear energy infrastructure development, reactor and fuel cycle technologies, and radioactive waste management. And though this task is formidable, Goodman is not alone. In addition to the State Department foreign and civil service employees, there are two other DOE/NNSA attachés on his team at UNVIE who cover other areas of the IAEA’s work. “It’s challenging, but incredibly rewarding work,” said Goodman.
Goodman has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in international affairs from American University and George Washington University, respectively. He initially joined DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy in 2011, and worked in NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation prior to moving to his current position at UNVIE in March 2018.