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Lieutenant General Frank G. Klotz, United States Air Force (Ret), was confirmed by the Senate this week, as the Department of Energy’s Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
“Lieutenant General Klotz’s confirmation comes at a critical point for the National Nuclear Security Administration,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “His breadth of military and national security leadership experience makes him uniquely suited to lead the NNSA, fulfilling its commitments to the management and security of the nation’s nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation, naval reactor programs, and nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness efforts. I thank the Senate for their attention to Lieutenant General Klotz’s nomination, and I look forward to working with him. I also thank Acting Administrator Bruce Held for his outstanding leadership of NNSA as Acting Administrator.”
As Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, Lt. Gen. Klotz is responsible for the management and operation of the NNSA, as well as policy matters across the Department of Energy and NNSA enterprise in support of President Barack Obama’s nuclear security agenda. Acting Administrator Held will return to his position as Associate Deputy Secretary.
Back in September during nomination hearings, Klotz said if he was confirmed his highest priority would be to ensure that NNSA delivered on the commitments to Congress in sustaining the nuclear weapons stockpile both now and in the future.
Klotz also said the nation’s labs would conduct leading-edge scientific research, in preventing nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists and would-be proliferators, in supporting the Navy’s nuclear reactor program, in modernizing facilities to meet the demands of the future, and in protecting the safety and security of sites, employees and the public.
“The military services often say that people are their most important asset,” Klotz said. “It’s true; and, it applies to NNSA as well. Highly trained, experienced and motivated scientists, engineers, technicians and security personnel are essential to performing the highly complex and technically challenging tasks associated with the nuclear security enterprise. “If confirmed, I will be guided by the principle of ‘Mission first, people always.’ To this end, I’ll be an unrelenting champion for the professional development and personal welfare of everyone associated with NNSA — including recruiting and mentoring the next generation of leaders and experts.”
Bruce Held had been serving as acting administrator after replacing Neile Miller, who served in that position for five months. Miller and Held replaced Thom D’Agostino who announced his retirement in 2013.
Prior to his Senate confirmation, Klotz served in a variety of military and national security positions. As the former Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, a position he held from 2009 to 2011, he established and then led a brand new 23,000-person organization that merged responsibility for all United States nuclear-capable bombers and land-based missiles under a single chain of command. From 2007 to 2009, Klotz was the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff and Director of the Air Staff. He served as the Vice Commander of Air Force Space Command from 2005 to 2007 and was the Commander of the 20th Air Force from 2003 to 2005.
Klotz served at the White House from 2001 to 2003 as the Director for Nuclear Policy and Arms Control on the National Security Council, where he represented the White House in the talks that led to the 2002 Moscow Treaty to reduce strategic nuclear weapons. Earlier in his career, he served as the defense attaché at U.S. Embassy Moscow during a particularly eventful period in U.S.-Russian relations.
A distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Klotz attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, where he earned an MPhil in international relations and a DPhil in politics. He is also a graduate of the National War College in Washington, D.C. Most recently, Klotz was a senior fellow for strategic studies and arms control at the Council on Foreign Relations.