Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center is headquartered at Kirtland Air Force Base, but civilian opportunities with AFNWC are available throughout the United States, including at Hill, Minot, and Tinker Air Force Bases.
Kirtland Air Force Base
Since 1939 Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, has helped put New Mexico at the forefront of the atomic age. Situated along the Rio Grande River and the Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque has an abundance of geographical sights and recreational activities as well as a rich Native American culture and history. Employees take full advantage of 310 annual days of sunshine to enjoy outdoor activities, sports, events, and attractions.
Spending time in nature is a great way to recharge from the demands of work. Albuquerque is ideal for outdoor activities with mountains, rivers, deserts and a scenic landscape for hiking, camping, fishing, biking, skiing and climbing. Enjoying the outdoors is a hallmark of life for AFNWC employees.
Petroglyph National Monument
You can't help but notice the peaks that dominate the western horizon. Those peaks are actually the Petroglyph National Monument, 17 miles of dormant volcanic sites and more than 20,000 ancestral Pueblo and early Spanish settler carvings along Albuquerque's West Mesa. The monument is cooperatively managed by the National Park Service and the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division, and is intended for cultural visitors and recreational use.
Sandia Peak Tramway
Sandia Peak sits at almost double the height of Albuquerque itself. Travel 2.7 miles above deep canyons and stunning terrain on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway for spectacular desert sunsets, access to the Cibola National Forest, or a visit to the Sandia Peak Ski Area.
Native American Culture
Albuquerque has a vast Native American population and rich heritage. With the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the historical Tijeras Pueblo Archeological Site and various reservations, there is ample opportunity to explore for those curious about discovering Native American culture and history in the region.
Clubs and Sports
Local activities include events at our Aero Club Flight Center. Other local recreational activities include bowling and golf, often with special military discounts. We also have intramural sports, such as basketball, volleyball, softball, golf, soccer, flag football and bowling teams.
Annual International Balloon Fiesta
Every October, up to 100,000 people visit the Annual International Balloon Fiesta, the largest balloon convention in the world. Spectators witness mass launches of hot air balloons of all shapes, patterns and colors. Other events include a balloon race and a number of piloting, skill and speed competitions.
Food and Beverage
Not only are our facilities conveniently located near numerous local microbreweries, but employees enjoy easy access to a variety of favorite local restaurants, such as Bogey Bar & Grill, Mountain View Club, Sparetime Grill, Thunderbird Inn and more.
Albuquerque is also home to outstanding New Mexican cuisine. Did you know New Mexico has a "state question" - like other states have state birds and trees? The question is "Red or Green?", and it refers to the red and green chiles grown in the southern part of the state. Explore our restaurants and find out what your answer is.
Fitness and Wellness Programs
The Air Force is invested in your well-being and offers employees three hours a week of paid work-out time to help you meet your fitness goals. The Base Fitness Centers are great places to keep in shape and keep active with quality equipment to meet almost any need. Employees can also get their exercise by taking advantage of classes and events offered at the centers.
We offer employees a number of resources to support their ability to balance work and family demands, including the Airman & Family Readiness Center, Child Development Center for young children, Youth Center for children and adolescents of all ages, and Family Child Care services for home-based care with individual providers.
Albuquerque has been recognized by Forbes and Popular Science as one of the greenest cities in the country. It also has one of the highest percentages of open space in the country. And with so much to do in the great outdoors, Albuquerque is committed to environmental responsibility through energy efficiency and “green” initiatives. Details are outlined at AlbuquerqueGreen.
To learn more about life in Albuquerque, such as cost of living, transportation, community services, arts and culture or things to do, visit the City of Albuquerque Economic Development page.
Home to the University of New Mexico and a number of postsecondary schools, you’ll find excellent resources for continuing an undergraduate education near Kirtland Air Force Base.
We’ve Made History:
AFNWC, Air Force Materiel Command's center of excellence for nuclear weapon systems, was activated at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, in 2006. Prior to that, the base has had a long history of weapons development and sustainment: 1939: World War II broke out, and Kirtland Air Force Base began as Albuquerque Army Air Base, an Army Air Corps training field. Thousands of New Mexico residents, working under the Great Depression-era Works Progress Administration, helped build the base.
- 1941: The first troops arrived to train and the first aircraft, a lone B-18 bomber, landed on the north-south runway.
- 1942: The new airfield began to boom with the arrival of the pilots, bombardiers, navigators and other crew members.
- 1943-1944: The base's three schools, Advanced Flying, Bombardier Training and the Multi-Engine Transition schools were operating at full capacity.
- 1946: Kirtland was assigned to the Air Force Materiel Command, and began focusing on flight test activities for the Manhattan Engineering District, the wartime organization that produced the first atomic bombs.
- 1947: Kirtland Field’s mission was established by AMC as the USAAF nuclear weapons facility, a continuation of the wartime Wendover Army Air Base (509th Composite Group – Manhattan Project operations. Kirtland's role in the testing and evaluation of atomic weapons increased in 1947 when Kirtland Army Air Field, became Kirtland Air Force Base.
- 1949: Renamed Kirtland Air Force Base, the air field became headquarters for the newly created Special Weapons Command at Kirtland Air Force Base following World War II, to determine employment of emerging weapon systems.
- 1952-1955: Renamed the Air Force Special Weapons Center, the airfield participated in atmospheric nuclear tests, in which biophysicists deliberately flew through nuclear clouds to determine radiation hazards. In other tests, engineers launched sounding rockets to study the effects of high-altitude explosions and the nature of the recently discovered Van Allen radiation belts.
- 1958: Scientists at the Air Force Special Weapons Center began to simulate the effects of explosions in order to strengthen missiles, missile sites and aircraft against possible attack.
- 1971: Kirtland merged with the Manzano and Sandia bases to create the large military complex that is now Kirtland Air Force Base.
- 1976: The Air Force Special Weapons Center was inactivated, and the Center’s weapons-related missions transferred to the Air Force Weapons Laboratory.
- 1982: The Air Force Space Technology Center was activated at Kirtland.
- 2006: Weapons-related missions were transferred to what is now AFNWC.
Hill Air Force Base
Bordered by the colorful Wasatch Mountains to the east, Hill AFB is situated just 4 miles south of the city of Ogden and 40 miles north of Salt Lake City. Both metropolitan areas offer abundant outdoor recreation, shopping, restaurant, cultural and nightlife options.
Ogden is proud of being a mountain to metro community. It offers the conveniences of a city served up at the base of some of the most stunning mountains you’ll ever experience. It’s located near 170,000 acres of National Forest, three ski resorts, more than 210 miles of single-track trail for hiking and mountain biking and 13,000 acres of lakes connected by pristine rivers. Want to know more about life in Ogden? Take a look at the City of Ogden’s Relocation Guide and see all they have to offer.
Combining the amenities of a major metropolitan area with the friendliness of a quaint mountain town, Salt Lake City is a beautiful, safe and vibrant community with a bustling economy. Salt Lake has four ski resorts 30 minutes away. Within a few hours’ drive of the city, you’ll find 21 national parks and monuments and over 40 state parks.
The New Century Scholarship encourages Utah high school students to accelerate their education by earning an Associate degree in high school from an institution within the Utah System of Higher Education. The scholarship may be used at any four-year public college or university in the Utah System of Higher Education, as well as at Brigham Young University-Provo, and Westminster College.
The FrontRunner commuter train connects Ogden to Salt Lake City. The TRAX light rail system carries passengers throughout Salt Lake County.
From the Salt Lake City International Airport, travelers can fly nonstop to 90 different cities.
In 2012, CNN Money ranked Ogden as the most affordable metro area in the U.S. to buy a home.
Median rent in Ogden is $704 a month, and the median home value is $126,000.
Each year, more than a million visitors explore Ogden’s historic 25th Street.
Salt Lake City has over 150 miles of bike lanes, multi-use trails, shared lanes and off-road tracks. You can tour the entire city along a 13.5-mile loop that goes through downtown, passes the farmer’s market and hits tons of historical sites across the city. Plus, the city has infrastructure in place to help keep bicycle commuters safe on city streets, like bike turn boxes and bicycle-specific traffic signals.
The NBA’s Utah Jazz plays hoops in Salt Lake City.
The state has thousands of square miles open to OHV and ATV use.
Majestic Arches National Park, located in eastern Utah, has over 2,000 natural stone arches (in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles), massive fins and giant balanced rocks.