NUCLEAR FORCE DEVELOPMENT COURSES AND TRAINING

CSDS CrestStrategic Deterrence Basic Course (SDBC) is a two-day online course instructor-led, utilizing Canvas group discussions, assigned readings and instructional videos.  SDBC is designed to be the first nuclear education "touchpoint" for personnel with little or no experience with the nuclear mission.  Students gain a basic understanding of strategic deterrence, the Triad and core Air Force nuclear missions.  Courses are offered on a weekly basis, with selection by unit nomination through TMT.  Each class has the capacity for up to 50 students.

Strategic Deterrence Basic Course for Executives (SDBC-E) is a two-day in residence course held at the Center for Strategic Deterrence Studies at Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL.  The SDBC is designed to be the first nuclear education "touchpoint" for non-nuclear Group Commanders, HQ Directors, GS-15s and CMSgts with little or no experience with the nuclear mission.  Students gain a basic understanding of strategic deterrence, the Triad and core Air Force nuclear missions.  Courses are offered on biannually prior to and after each PCS cycle.  Each class has the capacity for up to 15 students.

Desired Learning Objectives:
  • Gain a greater understanding of Nuclear Enterprise and associated Nuclear Competencies:
    • Nuclear Deterrence Policy and Strategy
    • Arms control and nonproliferation
    • Nuclear operations and forces; particularly relationships within AF and DoE
    • Nuclear support and surety issues; acquisition and infrastructure requirements
    • Framework of nuclear command, control and communications (NC3)
    • Unique aspects of the nuclear mission

 

U.S. Strategic Command

 

USSTRATCOM Nuclear Commanders Course is a two-day course conducted by USSTRATCOM with seats allocated by AFGSC/A9.  The course is offered four times a year at Offutt AFB and is unit funded.  It is designed to provide new nuclear enterprise commanders (O-5 level) with a foundational understanding of USSTRATCOM’s role in building and maintaining the nuclear war plan, nuclear command and control capabilities, and their unit’s role in the strategic deterrence mission.  Officers in nuclear command billets are contacted directly by AFGSC/A9 on an annual basis to determine the best dates for attendance.

 

Desired Learning Outcomes:
  • Increase awareness and understanding of USSTRATCOM’s mission, capabilities, and requirements
  • Increase situational awareness of current intelligence, force structure, challenges being faced, and synthesized future impacts.

 

 

Global Near-Peer Competition Concept & Applications Workshop is a three-day interactive course created to allow 12-15 cross functional core nuclear Operators, Security Forces, Maintenance, & Nuclear Command Control and Communication Squadron Commanders, Directors of Operations, and Superintendents to step away from day-to-day operational decision making to shift focus and reflect on the strategic implications created by AFGSC’s nuclear mission set.  Facilitated by Louisiana Tech Research Institute (LTRI) faculty the workshop includes presentations, discussions, Q&A with high level keynote speakers from across the DoD, U.S. Government, and Academia culminating with a scenario planning exercise on current and relevant events designed to exercise their new found knowledge base.  Focused topic discussions provide contextualized insights within the realm of AFGSC’s mission and its deterrence effects to include: current strategic environment, deterrence theory, cross-domain and tailored deterrence, rational actors and shaping behavior, strategic messaging, grand strategy and national interests, and the national instruments of power (DIME).  The overall intent is to provide rising leaders with a better understanding of the strategic implications created by our mission set an opportunity to learn from others, practice critical thinking and walk away with a broader appreciation for the AFGSC mission that can be translated to their Airmen.

Desired Learning Outcomes:
  • Enhance & expand the efficacy and application of AFGSC’s practitioners of 21st Century Strategic Deterrence, specific to:
    • Reinforcing participants’ knowledge of applicable strategic deterrence as a constructive process comparative to a theoretical ideal
    • Enforcing multi-disciplinary approaches and influences to strategic deterrence (political, economic, social, etc. . .)
    • Introducing participants to varied methods of deterrence and assurance, drawing upon historical context to ensure successful future outcomes 
    •  Transferring knowledge and validation via experiential practice and creation of plausible outcomes 

 

Strategic Thought Leader Course (GS 07-13) is a MAJCOM wide three-day nuclear education program designed to enhance awareness of nuclear operations, nuclear weapons effects, U.S. nuclear weapons policy, the evolving threat environment and how the nuclear triad is used to deter potential adversaries and achieve stability.  The overall intent is to provide AFGSC civilians (GS-07 - GS-13) with a better understanding of the strategic implications of our nuclear mission, an opportunity to practice critical thinking, and a broader appreciation for the Air Force nuclear enterprise.  Ultimately, the program will provide participants with a deeper understanding of the nuclear enterprise in relation to our mission, so that AFGSC civilians may be better advocates and leaders within the nuclear enterprise.  Instruction is delivered via training, briefing, discussion, tours and a panel by Space Forces, USSTRATCOM, HQ AFGSC staff, AFMC, Cyber, AFGSC NAFs, NC3 Center, Sandia National Labs and various other mission partners and stakeholders.  HQ AFGSC/A9 will be responsible for funding all TDY and program expenses.  This course is offered twice a year.

 

 

Nuclear PhD/Masters/Bachelors Programs AFGSC, with our partners in AETC, are working together to provide a learning opportunity for our Officers, Enlisted, or Civilians to get a degree in a subject which is directly related to the nuclear mission.  The effort will be managed and fully paid for by AETC/AU/AFIT's new School of Strategic Force Studies Department of Extension Studies.  These degrees are all by distance learning.  Some classes are synchronous, i.e., login to a webinar same time each week, or some are asynchronous, i.e., login to a blackboard and participate in readings and discussions at any time over the course of a week.  The AFGSC/A9 executed a beta process for a cohort of 10 individuals to enroll in programs emphasizing nuclear deterrence, plus a cohort of 6 individuals to enroll in programs emphasizing nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3).  We’ll continue to advocate for additional funding so we may open up more opportunities for these education programs. Click here for more information.

 

 

Nuclear Weapons, Effects, Policy and Proliferation (NWEPP) is taught and managed by AFIT’s School of Strategic Force Studies (https://www.afit.edu/EX/index.cfm).  AFGSC enrollment is handled by AFGSC/A9P.  This certificate program is targeted to mid-career Air Force officers, non-commissioned officers, and civilians with current or future assignments in the Air Force and DoD nuclear enterprise. The primary focus of NWEPP is providing formal graduate education in the areas of nuclear weapon effects, nuclear proliferation and technologies, and nuclear weapon strategy and policy to the Air Force's operational nuclear community.  The NWEPP program consists of three 10-week academic quarters (~9 months), part time.  Students must complete all three courses, and maintain a grade point average of at least 3.00. The student must fulfill the course and GPA requirements within two years of enrolling.  Prospective students should be aware that this is a graduate level program with an expected time commitment of at least 16 hours per week for each class.  A Bachelor degree is required with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and candidates must have earned a C or better in college level algebra.  Attendance is solicited by AFGSC/A9 via TMT.  For more course information click here.

 

 

Nuclear 200, 300 and 400 courses are taught by AFIT’s Nuclear College at Kirtland AFB, NM and are designed to provide world-class educational experiences "to support the Air Force's nuclear deterrent mission." Nuclear 200 is a five-day, in-residence course at Kirtland AFB intended to enhance awareness of the USAF nuclear mission.  The course covers nuclear weapon fundamentals, force structure, nuclear stockpile guidance and planning, the DOD nuclear surety program, the nuclear community, and current issues related to the USAF's nuclear mission.  Nuclear 200 is designed for both core nuclear personnel in the early/middle of their careers and for non-core nuclear personnel with a need for in-residence education on nuclear enterprise topics.  Members who attend the DTRA Defense Nuclear Weapons School’s Nuclear Weapons Orientation Course will attend Nuclear 200 by exception only, and vice versa.  The Nuclear 300 course, also five days in-residence, provides education on nuclear history and lifecycle, nuclear effects and surety, nuclear policy/strategy, the US Nuclear Enterprise, nuclear incident response, and stockpile sustainment.  The focus of this course is for individuals at the 9+ year point working in the nuclear enterprise.  Members who attend the DTRA Defense Nuclear Weapons School’s Nuclear Policy course will attend Nuclear 300 by exception only, and vice versa.  Attendance for Nuclear 200 and 300 is administered by AFGSC/A9P on behalf of AFGSC/A9.  Nominees to attend these courses are solicited via TMT approximately two months before class dates and selected based on an AFGSC prioritization document, nuclear mission equity, retainability and mission needs.  After selection, members are notified directly by AFGSC/A9 and the Nuclear College.  Nuclear 400 is a two day nuclear issues course in-residence at Kirtland AFB and is tailored for senior leaders working internal to the nuclear enterprise at an O-6 level HAF/MAJCOM 3 letter billet or E-9 in similar functional expert billet or Flag Officers and SESs that have nuclear responsibilities anywhere in their portfolio of responsibilities.  Attendance is by invitation and is managed by AFGSC/A1L. For more course information click here.