ANSER | 1975: ANSER Goes Nuclear
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1975: ANSER Goes Nuclear

Just as Analytic Services Inc. was created in the shadow of space exploration, the company was also created in the shadow of another undiscovered country: nuclear energy. By the time of the inaugural meeting of ANSER’s Board of Trustees in August of 1958, the decade had become an era of reaching for all things nuclear—bombs and bombers, laboratories and submarines—with the promise of more to come, especially from the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

Less than three months after that inaugural ANSER meeting, President Eisenhower declared a moratorium on nuclear testing. One of ANSER’s five initial studies was on the effects of that moratorium.

From there, ANSER continued in nuclear things. The company hired technical staff with diverse nuclear backgrounds—nuclear chemistry, nuclear physics, and nuclear science—and even created “nuclear engineer” as a category of ANSER professional staff. Studies from the early years included “High-Altitude Nuclear Effects” (1959), “Excess Power in Nuclear-Powered Aircraft” (1961), and “Nuclear rockets for space propulsion” (1962). If the Cold War could be distilled to that one word—nuclear—at a time when the war was starting to produce some of its hottest battles, then ANSER had a most relevant vocabulary.

While the concept of dealing with the threat of nuclear attack largely permeated defense studies in general, purely nuclear studies—examining nuclear subjects from above and beyond the angle of any one armed force—were something only lingering on the company horizon in ANSER’s early years. Working solely for the Air Force during that time meant that ANSER’s nuclear-related studies were the Air Force kind of nuclear-related: analyses of aircraft-related subjects into which the nuclear factor was introduced. Later studies such as “Nuclear Strike Detection System” (1963) and “Nuclear Space Power” (1964) revealed this connection as plainly as did the aforementioned study titles.

So while ANSER had long since gone nuclear in terms of its range of study subjects, it was not until 1975 that ANSER took on purely nuclear studies. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, created that same year, formed a task force in which ANSER was asked to participate. The company provided a senior member of the technical staff and “backed him up,” the Board later noted, with the part-time efforts of several other staff members.

One of the functions of the NRC was to develop regulations to assist in preventing the theft and diversion of radioactive materials. ANSER’s Board went on to note in its annual report for 1975 how the company became involved in helping the NRC with that function: “Recognizing that the quality of improvements in safeguards would depend on the conceptual basis underlying them, the Commission established a task force to develop such a basis.”

The senior ANSER staff member who became the “principal investigator” for this new work was a gentleman named Jack Englund, a mathematician and former professor whose experience prior to joining ANSER in 1963 included six years as an operations analyst and scientific advisor for the Strategic Air Command. In 1981 he would be named the third president of Analytic Services Inc.