By Joe Thomas, Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs
/ Published September 12, 2016
The School for Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies graduates its first six students, all active-duty Airmen from various career fields in Air Force Global Strike Command. The ceremony took place Sept.9, 2016, at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. From left to right: Maj. Allen Agnes, Maj. Jeffery Blackrick, Maj. Matthew Boone, Maj. Robert Evans, Maj. Marc Anthony Ortiz and Maj. David Pabst. (courtesy photo)
Boone, a missileer by trade, will move on to a post at the Pentagon where he will provide guidance based on his SANDS experience. Other graduates will also move on to special staffs at combatant and major commands or other locations where their knowledge will play a role indecisions affecting the nuclear enterprise.
Another SANDS graduate and missileer, Maj. Robert Evans, also a missileer, will move on to work at U.S. Strategic Command, which is responsible for the strategic employment of the nation’s deterrence assets. Evans specifically researched the link between Strategic Air Command and Air Force Global Strike Command and how leaders of both commands impacted the culture of deterrence.
“The nuclear enterprise is really the bedrock of our nation’s defense,” Evans said. “We also looked at those nations and organizations who are rational actors and how they work towards achieving their objectives. The world is a much more dynamic place than it was 20 years ago.”
Aside from academic course work, students had an opportunity to tour the world as they visited numerous laboratories in the continental United States as well as allied nations.
“This gave us a fresh perspective of how our allies view deterrence,” Evans said. “Especially when we visited Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom. We also learned how important deterrence is to the NATO alliance.”
The School for Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies is one in a series of efforts by AFGSC to reinvigorate the nuclear enterprise, which provides an umbrella of protection to NATO and coalition partners. Subsequent classes include sailors from the U.S. Navy, civilian members of the enterprise and foreign officers.
The Cold War ended in 1991 and with it a consolidated field of study regarding all of the nation’s unconventional weapons. SANDS strives to close the gap between yesterday’s and today’s understanding of deterrence, according to Evans.