The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Recent MTA Work
MTA in the News
Matthew Bunn discussed how a Biden administration might take a different approach in trying to shape the nuclear arms programs of Iran, North Korea, and Russia in a Harvard Gazette round-up of expert opinions on how the election might change the US place on the world stage.
Stephen Herzog was interviewed by the reformist Iranian newspaper Shargh about the U.S. presidential election and prospects for restoring dialogue on nuclear issues. (The interview was published in Farsi).
The Iranian Labour News Agency published an interview with Stephen Herzog about tensions in the Persian Gulf, the US maximum pressure strategy, the prospect for negotiations, and more.
"Iran's claims that its nuclear programme has always been civilian are false," Matthew Bunn told Al-Jazeera.
Nickolas Roth was quoted in a Gizmodo article on the Department of Defense decision to pull funding for the JASON Group.
“President Trump’s irresponsible approach to nuclear weapons has increased, not decreased, the dangers of nuclear proliferation and nuclear war,” Matthew Bunn told Foreign Policy for an article about the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.
The Trump-Kim summit provided Vietnam an opportunity to improve its status in the international community, Viet Phuong Nguyen told the South China Morning Post.
Aaron Arnold discussed his work on civil asset forfeiture in a VOA Korea video.
Trevor Findlay was quoted by the China News Service about the potential role of nuclear energy in China's efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
The Project on Managing the Atom (MTA) has a dual mission: (1) leading the advancement of policy-relevant knowledge about the future of nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, and the connections between the two; and (2) preparing the next generation of leaders for work on these issues. MTA researchers not only engage in policy research and analysis, but also propose and promote policy innovations, and provide authoritative information for an interested public.
MTA’s research focuses primarily on four broad issues and on the interactions between them:
- Reducing the risk of nuclear and radiological terrorism: MTA has maintained a major focus on analyzing, proposing, and pushing for initiatives to keep nuclear weapons and materials out of the hands of terrorists and secure nuclear stockpiles throughout the world.
- Stopping the spread of nuclear weapons: MTA’s work focuses on strengthening nonproliferation efforts and addressing regional proliferation challenges in the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia, with attention to both constraining the supply of nuclear technology and reducing demand for nuclear weapons.
- Reducing the dangers of existing nuclear stockpiles: MTA’s work suggests practical steps for reducing the risk of the use of nuclear weapons in war or crises, and for reducing the size of nuclear arsenals themselves.
- Lowering the barriers to the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear energy: Nuclear energy would have to grow substantially to be a significant part of the answer to the climate change challenge. MTA examines how nuclear energy could be made as safe, secure, and proliferation-resistant as possible – and how the problem of radioactive waste can be successfully addressed.
Our research is intended for a variety of audiences: experts in nonproliferation, energy, and international politics; policy makers; and the general public. The work of the project appears in publications such as the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Arms Control Today, International Security, Foreign Policy, and Science and Global Security. Experts associated with the project also provide opinion pieces and commentary to a wide variety of media, including The New York Times, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, and the major news networks.
The project sponsors an international group of resident fellows, who—like the project’s staff and faculty members—engage in individual and collaborative research. MTA fellows conduct their research in an interdisciplinary work environment—blending policy and technical concerns—and enjoy frequent opportunities to interact with colleagues, faculty, and visiting policy makers and experts. In addition to pursuing their own research, MTA fellows participate in group seminars, and prepare themselves for future careers in academia and policy.
The project is a joint venture of the Belfer Center programs on Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP); International Security (ISP); and Environment and Natural Resources (ENRP).
The Project on Managing the Atom is an inclusive and supportive research group. We strive to foster a culture of respect for the ideas and contributions of each member of our community. The Project on Managing the Atom does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, disability, or status as a veteran in its selection of fellows, employment of staff, or in its provision of access to or treatment in its projects and activities.The MTA Project is committed to recruiting and retaining a highly diverse group of research fellows, associates, and staff. We work to ensure that our appointments and selection procedures consciously identify and evaluate people from underrepresented groups.