U.S. Navy Admiral Richard W. Mies presented 2023 Foster Medal

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Admiral Richard Mies donated the $25,000 honorarium received with the Foster Medal to the Livermore Lab Foundation. Mies presented LLF Chair Dona Crawford with a check at the Oct. 18 luncheon. Bearing the likeness of John S. Foster Jr., the Foster Medal honors individuals who have displayed innovative and inspirational leadership in maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent for international peace and strategic stability.


In an award ceremony held last month at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), U.S. Navy Admiral Richard W. Mies was presented with the John S. Foster Jr. Medal for his outstanding contributions to national security, nuclear deterrence, and scientific innovation.

The Foster Medal, established in 2015, recognizes individuals who have displayed innovative and inspirational leadership in maintaining a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent for international peace and strategic stability. Mies, the eighth recipient of the esteemed award, was lauded for his exceptional 35-year career in the U.S. Navy and for his service in pivotal roles, including leading the U.S. Strategic Command.

Admiral Richard Mies is presented the John S. Foster Jr. Medal at an award ceremony on Oct. 18.

In presenting the award, LLNL Director Kim Budil reflected on Mies's leadership, emphasizing his commitment as both a military leader and member of the national security community.

“Admiral Mies truly embodies the characteristics that distinguished Johnny Foster and his long career in the national interest,” Budil said. “Many of us have had been honored to have Rich’s advice, counsel, and friendship. Today, we recognize Rich for his inspiring leadership, integrity, and scientific innovation, as well as his work in cultivating an atmosphere of openness and inclusive teamwork.”

The Oct. 18 ceremony drew esteemed guests, including former laboratory directors, previous Foster Medal recipients, and members of the STRATCOM strategic advisory panels, and featured accolades from key figures in the defense and scientific communities. Johnny Foster, at age 101, attended virtually from his home.

LLNL Director Kim Budil, right, addresses distinguished guests at a luncheon honoring Admiral Richard Mies on Oct. 18. (Photos by Blaise Douros)

U.S. Navy Admiral James Foggo commended the selection committee, stating, "Congratulations on your selection of the perfect candidate for the Foster Award this year. I cannot think of a better American naval officer, submariner, scholar, and patriot. Congratulations, Richard, on an honor so well deserved. I salute you, sir."

Victor Reis, former Department of Energy assistant secretary of Defense Programs, emphasized Mies's pivotal role in the Nuclear Security Enterprise, "As the chairman of the STRATCOM strategic advisory group, Rich gave the labs and Defense Programs his full, direct, personal, and much needed support. He had their backs. Rich was the military leader who was in the right position at the right time and did the right thing.”

Michael Anastasio, former director of Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national labs, highlighted Mies's effectiveness at the intersection of policy and technology, Rich has been, and still is, very effective at interfacing with the Department of Defense, NNSA, and the national labs to ensure and further our national security. The Foster Award is a fitting honor for him. And I must say it's been a real pleasure to have the chance to work with such a dedicated public servant.

The ceremony also featured recorded remarks from Lab Director Emeritus George Miller, Sandia National Laboratories Vice President Emerita Miriam “Mim” E. John, and UC Berkeley professor Raymond Jeanloz.

Deeply honored by the recognition, Mies stated in his acceptance remarks, “Dr. Johnny Foster is an icon in our national security enterprise, and I'm especially proud to accept this award in his name from a laboratory I've been closely associated with for so many years.”

Mies also used his remarks to address current geopolitical tensions, and rally for a sense of urgency in stockpile modernization.  

“This is no time for complacency,” Mies said. “In this all-hands-on-deck moment, we need a greater sense of urgency in both the Department of Defense and Energy, for modernization of our strategic triad, production of warhead pits and life extension of both our legacy weapons and delivery platforms. We need to go smarter, if not faster, to better unify design and production, to restore mutual trust and collaboration among stakeholders and acknowledge our shared fate.”

The Foster Medal is bestowed annually by the laboratory director on behalf of Lawrence Livermore National Security. Medal recipients receive a citation, a gold medal bearing the likeness of John S. Foster Jr., and a $25,000 cash award. At a luncheon preceding the recognition event, Mies donated his award to the Livermore Lab Foundation in support of the John S. Foster Jr Undergraduate Fellowship which sponsors rising undergraduate seniors participating in science or engineering projects important to national security.