418 Events

Seminar - Open to the Public

Reconciling Strategic Stability Disconnects with China

Thu., Mar. 30, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Belfer Center Library, Room L369

Speaker: Barry Little, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

The speaker will discuss U.S. and Chinese perspectives on strategic stability, sticking points in the nuclear relationship, and recommendations on how to bolster stability.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Asia-Pacific Nuclear Governance: Feeble, Fragmented but Fixable?

Wed., Mar. 29, 2017 | 10:00am - 11:30am

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324

Nuclear governance at the regional level in Asia-Pacific is alarmingly fragmented and feeble. An array of disparate, small bodies with varying memberships seek to address safety, security, nonproliferation, and disarmament, but without adding much to the global arrangements. Dr. Findlay will examine the future likely trajectory of nuclear energy in the region, the regional drivers of and constraints on strengthened regional governance, and the likelihood of a comprehensive, integrated nuclear governance regime emerging.

Oct. 25, 2012 - A SM-2 Block IIIA missile is launched from the USS Fitzgerald during the FTI-01 flight test.

Creative Commons

Seminar - Open to the Public

In the Shadow of the Umbrella: U.S. Extended Deterrence and Nuclear Proliferation in East Asia, 1961–1979

Thu., Mar. 16, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Belfer Center Library, Room L369

The United States has been remarkably successful at using the security guarantee as a non-proliferation tool, but during the Cold War, three countries — Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan — were in danger of slipping out from under the U.S. nuclear umbrella. Why did these states feel the need to start down the nuclear path, despite being under the protective wing of its nuclear-armed superpower ally? Relying on declassified national security archival documents, this seminar sheds light on the interplay between alliance dynamics and nuclear weapons decision making.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Nuclear Weapons and Coercive Diplomacy

Thu., Mar. 9, 2017 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324

Are nuclear weapons useful for coercive diplomacy? Since 1945, most strategic thinking about nuclear weapons has focused on deterrence - using nuclear threats to prevent attacks against the nation's territory and interests. But an often overlooked question is whether nuclear threats can also coerce adversaries to relinquish possessions or change their behavior. Can nuclear weapons be used to blackmail other countries? The prevailing wisdom is that nuclear weapons are useful for coercion, but this book shows that this view is badly misguided. Nuclear weapons are useful mainly for deterrence and self-defense, not for coercion. The authors evaluate the role of nuclear weapons in several foreign policy contexts and present a trove of new quantitative and historical evidence that nuclear weapons do not help countries achieve better results in coercive diplomacy. The evidence is clear: the benefits of possessing nuclear weapons are almost exclusively defensive, not offensive.

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Seminar - Open to the Public

Inheriting the Bomb: Soviet Collapse and Nuclear Disarmament of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan

Wed., Mar. 8, 2017 | 10:00am - 11:30am

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324

The disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the world's largest nuclear arsenal of some 29,000 nuclear weapons, under the sovereign power of four new states: the Russian Federation, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. While Russia succeeded the Soviet Union as a recognized nuclear power, the status of nuclear weapons in the three non-Russian states was more ambiguous. Whose weapons were they, what claims could these new states convincingly and legitimately make in relation to the nuclear weapons on their territory, and who would carry out Soviet Union’s arms control obligations under START I and NPT? The presentation explores how the deliberations and decisions made during and immediately after the Soviet collapse framed much of the ensuring negotiations over the fate of Soviet nuclear legacy, leading, in the end, to the denuclearization of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. 

Seminar - Open to the Public

Building a Fortress: The Role of Scientists in India's Nuclear Policymaking (1947–1974)

Thu., Mar. 2, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Belfer Center Library, Room L369

Speaker: JI Yeon-jung, Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

RESCHEDULED FROM FEBRUARY 9, 2017

How did scientists successfully convince political leaders to pursue India’s nuclear program and to approve the peaceful nuclear explosion in 1974? What mechanism and rationale did they establish? Examining the case of India’s nuclear policy toward nuclear experimentation in 1974, this seminar presents how scientists attempted to stylize India’s nuclear policy in light of the changing dynamics of science and politics.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Fuel Cycles, Fissile Materials and Force Postures: A Case Study of Pakistan

Wed., Mar. 1, 2017 | 10:00am - 11:30am

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324

This seminar will analyze Pakistan's existing and projected nuclear fuel cycle capabilities and their effect on the country’s nuclear posture. Pakistan has been producing HEU since the mid-1980s and following the commissioning of the first production reactor in 1998, the country has expanded its plutonium production and reprocessing capabilities to meet the needs of a credible deterrent, comprising twelve types of ballistic and cruise missiles—which now form a strategic triad. While these capabilities have been progressively built over four decades and are modest in comparison to emerging capabilities in the region, Pakistan is viewed as having the world’s fastest growing nuclear arsenal. Resource constraints and the requirements of maintaining a credible conventional deterrence, coupled with the evolving threat spectrum will determine the future direction and scope of its strategic force posture.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Why Nuclear Energy Programs Rarely Lead to Proliferation

Thu., Feb. 16, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Belfer Center Library, Room L369

Speaker: Nicholas L. Miller, Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

Much conventional wisdom suggests that states with nuclear energy programs are more likely to seek or acquire nuclear weapons. In this seminar, the speaker will argue that the link between nuclear energy programs and proliferation is overstated. While energy programs increase the technical capacity of a state to build nuclear weapons, they also (1) increase the costliness of nonproliferation sanctions, (2) increase the odds that a parallel nuclear weapons program is detected, and (3) reduce the incentives to weaponize by providing a hedging alternative. Collectively, these three mechanisms help explain why states with nuclear energy programs have not been significantly more likely to seek or acquire nuclear weapons historically. 

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

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Seminar - Open to the Public

Curbing Nuclear Latency: How International Agreements Promote Benign Nuclear Assistance

Wed., Feb. 15, 2017 | 10:00am - 11:30am

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324

Does civil nuclear assistance increase the risk of nuclear proliferation? Previous scholarship that suggests a positive correlation between civil nuclear assistance and nuclear weapons proliferation explains only the first half of the nuclear era, roughly until the mid-1970s, and does not reflect significant changes made to the world’s nuclear export environment. After India carried out a nuclear test in 1974, the international community established the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a multilateral nuclear export control regime, to regulate civil nuclear assistance. Since then, the NSG has been effective in curbing sensitive nuclear assistance (the transfer of uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technologies), which allows recipients to acquire “nuclear latency.” Kim argues that civil nuclear assistance does not increase nuclear proliferation as long as sensitive nuclear assistance that contributes to nuclear latency is prevented.  By facilitating cooperation among states in curbing such assistance, the NSG has successfully promoted benign nuclear assistance. 

Seminar - Open to the Public

Book Talk: Insider Threats

Wed., Feb. 8, 2017 | 10:00am - 11:30am

John F. Kennedy School of Government - Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324

High-security organizations around the world face devastating threats from insiders—trusted employees with access to sensitive information, facilities, and materials. From Edward Snowden to the Fort Hood shooter to the theft of nuclear materials, the threat from insiders is on the front page and at the top of the policy agenda. Insider Threats offers detailed case studies of insider disasters across a range of different types of institutions, from biological research laboratories, to nuclear power plants, to the U.S. Army. Matthew Bunn and Scott D. Sagan outline cognitive and organizational biases that lead organizations to downplay the insider threat, and they synthesize "worst practices" from these past mistakes, offering lessons that will be valuable for any organization with high security and a lot to lose.