LANL’s Rian Bahran Awarded Secretary Of Defense Medal For Exceptional Service

Rian Bahran. Photo Courtesy LANL 


Rian Bahran, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist and policy advisor on assignment in Washington, D.C, has received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service for his exemplary performance.

“This recognition from the Department of Defense reflects Rian’s dedication and commitment to vital national security issues,” said Deputy Laboratory Director for Weapons Bob Webster. “Los Alamos National Laboratory is proud of the extensive contributions that Rian has made.”

Bahran was recognized for his service and contributions as a senior science and policy adviser for nuclear deterrence policy from January 2019 to May 2020 and a special assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from May 2020 to this June.

“Dr. Bahran performed with distinction during a period in which the Department of Defense implemented outcomes of the Nuclear Posture review,” the citation reads.

Among his duties, he oversaw the implementation of the Nuclear Posture Review, which establishes nuclear policy, strategy, capabilities and force posture.

Bahran also led various national and international forums related to the technical aspects of U.S. extended deterrence to NATO, and served as the Department of Defense policy lead for the successful negotiation of a nuclear accident-incident agreement. The U.S. government relied on his technical insights and policy support related to arms control, nonproliferation, nuclear testing, and strategic stability dialogues. During a crisis in the Middle East, Bahran, a bilingual Yemeni-American, was called on to support the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and the Secretary of Defense with his language and regional expertise. 

“It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to serve in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and my time has left me with a distinct understanding of the serious challenges we face. I am truly appreciative of the opportunities that the Laboratory provided that allow me to have a substantive impact on protecting the security of our nation/globe and defending our democratic values,” Bahran said.

About Los Alamos National Laboratory (
Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is managed by Triad, a public service oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), and the Regents of the University of California (UC) for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.