Malmstrom Airman selected to attend nuclear studies course

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Recently, the Air Force implemented a new program designed to teach Airmen within the nuclear deterrence mission how to become the most effective and educated leaders in this nuclear enterprise.

The program, called the School of Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies course, originally resulted from a question asked by former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The course aims to answer the question of who will lead our Airmen within this nuclear mission as it evolves into the 21st century. 

At Malmstrom Air Force Base, one Airman has been selected to be a trailblazer in bringing this program up to speed, while learning the ins and outs of what it takes to effectively lead a team of nuclear Airmen.

Maj. Robert Evans, 341st Operations Support Squadron assistant director of training operations, will join four other Airmen from around Air Force Global Strike Command, 20th AF and 8th AF to attend the one-year course, which is based at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.

"I'm one of those guys that like to understand how this weapons system works," said Evans. "This program is giving us the ability to see the ins and outs (of this mission) and how they are completely integrated into what we do in the Air Force to provide the two legs of the (nuclear triad) and integrating the third leg of the triad, with the Navy."

For Evans, understanding the big picture of how this deterrence system is used on a daily basis, while learning how to lead people and teach them how the enterprise should work, is his mission.

"Deterrence is something we use every day," said Evans. "Intercontinental ballistic missiles in particular have been used every single day through deterrence."

While taking a previous course, Evans and his peers were asked by their instructor when the last time nuclear weapons were used. The class replied 1945, when America dropped two atomic bombs from long-range bomber aircraft, ending World War II.

Immediately, the instructor replied with "no, you use them every single day."

Every day since their implementation they have been used as an umbrella for America and its allies.

This hit home for Evans and is something he has come to remember while performing his day-to-day mission, he says.

"I do my job, and I do my job well," said Evans. "My dad always used to say, 'no matter how crappy the job is, if it's picking up trash, or whatever, you better be the best person at that job you were given.'"

This is something he takes to heart.

The ability to educate future Airmen and missileers on what the mission specifically is, all the way from big-picture tactics down to individual tasks at the wing level is paramount for Evans.

Being able to give his co-workers and those under his command a sight picture of why their job is so important and showing them how important it is through hands-on instruction and leadership is something Evan's hopes to take away from the course, he says.

"I'm a firm believer in that you cannot rest on the knowledge you have now, but that you have to continue your education," he said.