AFIT faculty member receives Air Force 2023 Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration Award

  • Published
  • By Katie Scott
  • Air Force Institute of Technology

Eric Meiers, director of the Department of Nuclear Studies at the Air Force Institute of Technology, is the Headquarters Air Force-level winner of the 2023 Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration Award, Civilian Category III of the Year.

This annual award, administered by Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration at Headquarters U.S. Air Force (AF/A10), recognizes outstanding individual contributions to the nuclear enterprise and strategic deterrence.

“Eric’s stellar leadership across all facets of nuclear education continues to shape nuclear thought leaders across the Department of Defense who will strengthen and sustain deterrence in support of U.S. interests and Great Power Competition,” said Col. Christopher Landwehr, dean, School of Strategic Force Studies. “I have been fortunate to work with such a visionary leader whose focus every single day is to tackle every opportunity to prepare that next generation of leaders to compete, deter and win.”

In 2023, Meiers led unprecedented achievements by the Air Force’s sole nuclear professional continuing education and training team.  He directed the education and development of over 4,000 nuclear mission professionals through 91 unique classes, marking a 19-year record that exceeded AF/A10 production requirements by 37.7%.

Meiers played a pivotal role in the creation, development and approval of the first-ever Nuclear Enterprise Introductory Course. This initiative annually reaches more than 900 associate career field nuclear mission professionals not previously included in Air Force production requirements or AFIT offerings.

He pioneered the Air Force’s first classified nuclear education distance learning course and the inaugural micro-credential program. These innovations equip career field managers, development team chairs and talent managers with advanced tools for identifying, placing, and developing nuclear mission professionals.

Additionally, Meiers created a two-phase plan to establish the Air Force’s first-ever data link connecting multiple personnel and educational systems. This system will automate course completion information transmission, eliminating cumbersome manual processes and addressing a 19-year database capability gap internal to his department.

Meiers also oversaw the $145K acquisition and installation of a tamper-resistant, alarmed, armored fiber protected distribution system. This system delivers crucial capabilities to the Air Force's 'Nuclear College', enabling compliant classified data distribution for all in-residence courses.

Furthermore, he designed and directed a $102K renovation project, adding 128 square feet of office space for the growing Nuclear Certification Division, and led a major IT upgrade to enhance facility-wide audio-visual capabilities.

As the architect of new Host Tenant Support Agreements and Memorandums of Agreement with the Air Force Inspection Agency and the 58th Special Operations Wing, Meiers significantly enhanced and sustained physical security, IT, information assurance support, and cyber capabilities for a critical AFIT geographically separated unit.

Meiers joined AFIT’s School of Strategic Force Studies team in August 2020 at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. He leads a team that provides nuclear professional continuing education and training to thousands of Department of Defense, Air Force, sister service, combatant command, interdepartmental, interagency, and combined forces personnel annually.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematical sciences from Biola University, California, and two Master’s degrees - one in business management from Webster University, Missouri, and the other in information technology from Creighton University, Nebraska. A retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and command navigator, Meiers has over 3,100 flying hours, primarily in the KC-135 and has flown 29 combat missions during Operations Desert Shield, Desert Calm and Northern Watch.