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A new year-long professional military education program at Kirtland AFB, N.M., designed to build deep expertise in the nuclear enterprise for Air Force Global Strike Command officers, civilians, and other service members is getting under way and is slated to expand, AFGSC officials recently announced. The School for Advanced Nuclear Studies, or SANDS, gives students the ability to complete a master's degree in operations management, as well as take courses from the Defense Threat Reduction University, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, and Sandia National Laboratories, among others, to build both technical competence and expertise in strategic deterrence and assurance. Other elements of the SANDS program include research design, weapons effects, and leadership. Maj. Matthew Boone, one of only six students attending the school in its first year, said he hopes to get a broad understanding of the policy and strategy​ which directs how the United States carries out the nuclear deterrence mission, and to learn from experts “on the cutting edge of our field.” Eventually, the class size will grow to between 12 and 15 students, states the release. SANDS staff said the aim of the program is to eventually produce “deterrence experts” who will move on to command and staff positions at headquarters, and across the Air Force, the Department of Defense, and other organizations.