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Dr. Marvin L. Adams standing in a room with the Department of Nuclear Engineering and a nuclear fission symbol in the background.
Dr. Marvin Adams has worked at Texas A&M University for 30 years. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

For much of his career, Texas A&M University nuclear engineer Dr. Marvin L. Adams has been considered one of the nation’s foremost experts on nuclear security outside of the federal government. 

Now he’s on the inside.

On April 6, Congress confirmed Adams’ appointment by President Joe Biden to serve as deputy administrator for defense programs within the Department of Energy.

Adams will oversee federal programs that ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.

He will help manage a $16 billion budget in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The agency oversees the design, maintenance, assessment, manufacturing and dismantlement of all U.S. nuclear warheads and related programs that develop and maintain all the associated science, engineering, technology, supply chain and manufacturing capabilities.

Adams’ position is one of four top jobs in the NNSA that requires Senate approval.

“I look forward to working with the outstanding NNSA team –– the federal workforce and the workforce at the laboratories, plants and sites –– to deliver our unique, essential contributions to U.S. national security,” Adams said.

Adams has been the HTRI Professor of Nuclear Engineering, a Regents Fellow and the director of National Laboratories Mission Support for The Texas A&M University System.

“After 30 years of research and teaching at Texas A&M, service as an advisor for the White House and now a key administrator in the Department of Energy, Dr. Adams remains as humble as the day I met him,” said Dr. John E. Hurtado, interim vice chancellor and dean of the College of Engineering. “His expertise and reasoned voice will be a tremendous asset to President Biden’s national security team.”

“Our department is extremely grateful of Dr. Adams’ impactful work and his contributions to our students, our college and our society. We are very proud of him and wish him well as he embarks to our nation’s capital to selflessly serve,” said Dr. Michael Nastasi, nuclear engineering department head.

His research has advanced the nation’s ability to use complex computer algorithms to help assess weapons’ reliability while explosive nuclear testing is banned.

As an educator, Adams has taught generations of engineers, including many who have gone on to careers at the three national nuclear security laboratories — Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

Adams also has served for decades in advisory roles at the nation’s nuclear labs.

“I am grateful to Texas A&M for allowing me to pursue national service opportunities during my three decades here,” Adams said.

Before joining the Texas A&M faculty, Adams was a physicist at Lawrence Livermore from 1986 to 1992. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan and his bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from Mississippi State University.

Last fall Biden named Adams among 30 distinguished Americans to serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a group from outside the government that he has to resign from now.

Read more about Adams’ distinguished career.