Cambridge, MA – Former Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter will join the Harvard Kennedy School as the Belfer Professor of Technology and Global Affairs and Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. As Secretary of Defense, Carter, a physicist, became known for pushing the Pentagon to “think outside its five-sided box” in order to transform the way the military fought adversaries and strengthened alliances, managed its budget and talent, developed its technology, and more. He will now lead the Belfer Center’s programs and will focus his scholarship on the role of innovation and technology in addressing challenges at home and around the world.
Under what conditions do states use preventive military force to forestall or destroy an adversary's nuclear weapons program? If nuclear weapons are so dangerous, why do leaders disagree about the magnitude of the threat posed by specific nuclear programs? Despite the fact that nuclear proliferation has been a growing source of concern, counter-proliferation decision-making remains poorly understood. To address this gap in the literature, this research demonstrates that the decision to use preventive force rests not only on structural factors, but also critically on a leader's prior beliefs about the consequences of proliferation and confidence in deterring a particular nuclear adversary. Conducting comparative and historical analysis using archival research and process tracing, this project examines U.S. decision-making against the Chinese, Iraqi, and North Korean nuclear programs.
Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.