Qualified civilians and former service members may now apply for direct appointment as a Nuclear and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) — Functional Area 52 (FA 52) officer in the United States Army.
FA 52 officers are on the frontline of the nation’s strategic deterrence. They leverage their experience and technical competence to advise Army senior leaders and policy makers on nuclear and CWMD matters. These officers keep our Soldiers and country safe. FA 52 selects high performers with the ability to understand highly technical content and provide clear and concise advice. The Army seeks talent from across the Nation with understanding and experience in nuclear physics, nuclear reactors, and CWMD operations.
The mission of FA 52 is to provide nuclear and CWMD expertise, technical advice and analysis, and policy recommendations to the Army, Combatant Commands, Army Service Component Commander or Joint Forces Land Component Commander, Department of Defense (DoD), and interagency leadership. Also, the mission encompasses the survival of equipment and personnel to nuclear weapons effects on the battlefield and implementation requirements of nuclear treaties. To accomplish this mission, the Nuclear and CWMD officer performs the following FA 52 functions:
- Conduct research and analysis of nuclear weapons effects
- Assist in forming national, joint, Army, and theater-level nuclear weapons strategy, plans, and policies. Assist in identifying requirements for nuclear weapons and for the development, operation, and sustainment of nuclear weapons systems
- Serve as a staff officer or manager in an organization engaged in support to the warfighting forces in the areas related to weapons of mass destruction, to include nuclear weapons research
- Provide technical expertise in nuclear weapons and their effects to ensure the operational effectiveness of our nuclear forces and their survivability and endurance-based upon threats from weapons of mass destruction
- Provide technical assistance in target analysis and employment planning of nuclear weapons at corps and echelons above corps
- Assist in international arms control treaty formulation and verification
- Assist in integrating the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Defense (DoD) planning, programming, and budgeting research cycles
- Conduct research on both new and fielded material to determine vulnerabilities to nuclear weapons effects and to improve survivability
- Assist in the formulation of multinational standardization agreements concerning all aspects of nuclear matters
- Recommend policies and prepare instructions for protecting personnel and equipment from the immediate effects of nuclear detonations
- Conduct vulnerability analysis of personnel to nuclear weapons effects
- Monitor test results and perform analyses to determine the nuclear weapons stockpile safety and reliability condition
- Prepare, coordinate and maintain Nuclear Accident Incident Response and Assistance (NAIRA) policies, procedures, and plans
- Provide technical oversight in the areas of Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) and Counter-Proliferation
- Operate and oversee the operation of or regulate the operation of research or testing nuclear reactors
Nuclear and CWMD officers bring extensive skills and education to bear in all aspects of nuclear and CWMD strategic and operational-level policy, planning, and execution Upon selection and appointment, new FA 52 officers will attend two schools in preparation to serve in the Army as a Nuclear and CWMD officer: the 6-week Direct Commissioning Course (Fort. Benning, GA) and the six-week FA 52 Qualification Course (two weeks at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM and four weeks at Fort Belvoir, VA). New FA 52 officers may receive additional training, as necessary, to prepare for specific FA 52 positions.
- Must be a United States citizen; applicants in a dual citizenship status are ineligible.
- Must be able to obtain and maintain a TOP SECRET security clearance.
- Must have at least a Masters of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering, Physics, or a CWMD-related field.
- Must possess at least four years of relevant work experience in a nuclear and/or CWMD career field.
- Must complete an Army commissioning physical, meeting basic fitness standards for service as an Army officer.
- Must complete the application packet and submit it to the FA 52 Proponent
Nuclear and CWMD officers serve in diverse organizations and work on teams that may include officials from other governmental organizations and members of the other services of the Armed Forces. Nuclear and CWMD officers serve in the ranks of Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel and are assigned to a wide variety of operational and strategic Army, Department of Defense, and federal agency positions all over the world:
If you have questions please send them to
- Download and complete the FA 52 Direct Commissioning Program Application.
- Upload the completed application.
- Upload the following documents: