United States Air Force Academy

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Your Role in Strategic Deterrence


The Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor provides a pathway for cadets from all majors to build the technical and strategic foundation to lead the United States Air Force in the second nuclear age.

Nuclear weapons play an essential role in the strategic deterrence of adversaries and the current limited nature of warfare. The Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor at the Academy focuses on the enduring fundamentals of the nuclear enterprise. This includes the origin of nuclear energy, strategic policy, proliferation, and the effects of radiation as a result of nuclear reactions.

The skills and abilities developed in the Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor are of high importance to the execution of the Air Forces’ nuclear mission and maintenance of the Air Forces’ nuclear stockpile.

Cadets in the minor must have a Secret security clearance.

Within the Air Force

Graduates can work for a range of organizations, including Air Force Global Strike Command, NNSA, USSTRATCOM, AFNWC, DTRA, AFTAC and DIA

Outside the Air Force
  • Research and Development
  • Defense Contractor


Cadets will earn the minor by completing five courses (15 semester hours):

Physics 310 Principles of Nuclear Science
Physics 354 Nuclear Weapons Engineering
Physics 450 Nuclear Weapons Effects
Soc Sci 467 Nuclear Weapons Policy and Strategy
Choose One:
 Pol Sci 302 American Foreign and National Security Policy
 MSS 367 Weapons, Warfare, and Mass Disruption
 Chem 350 Chemistry of Weapons
 History 376 A History of Space Power
 History 371 Airpower History

For full program requirements and course descriptions, download the current Curriculum Handbook.


Dr. Ryan Cress
Assistant Professor
(719) 333-3272