15 Events

A forklift shovels one-ton containers of mustard gas over the side of a barge somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean in 1964. The Army dumped millions of pounds of chemical warfare agent over decades in this way.

U.S. Army

Seminar - Open to the Public

WMD Disposal, Destruction, and Disarmament: The Reduction of U.S. Chemical and Nuclear Weapon Stockpiles

Thu., May 16, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker:  Cameron Tracy, Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

States often spend vast sums on weapon production, yet have trouble mustering the resources necessary to eliminate stockpiled weapons for arms control and disarmament purposes. Stockpile reductions have proven particularly challenging with respect to weapons of mass destruction, for which weaponizability is embedded in materials rather than assembled devices. Their elimination commonly requires expensive, technologically demanding processes. U.S. chemical weapon and weapons plutonium stockpile reduction efforts provide useful case studies for investigation of the factors governing the success of reductions programs, as they faced similar challenges yet yielded divergent outcomes. This project involves comparative analysis of both reductions programs, focusing on the technical, organizational, and sociopolitical contexts that aided or hindered elimination.

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

President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia sign the New START Treaty during a ceremony at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, April 8, 2010.

Chuck Kennedy/White House Photo

Seminar - Open to the Public

Strategic Stability after the end of Strategic Arms Control

Wed., Jan. 17, 2018 | 10:00am - 11:30am

Littauer Building - Fainsod Room, 324

Speaker: Ambassador Linton Brooks

Russian violation of the INF Treaty means that it will be politically impossible to replace New START when it expires and even an extension may be difficult.  As a result, by 2026 at the latest and perhaps as soon as 2021, there will be—for the first time in half a century—no formal agreement regulating nuclear relations between Russia and the United States.  This presentation will discuss the resulting consequences for strategic stability and how they might be mitigated.  It will conclude that serious examination, both internally and bilaterally, should begin soon.  


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

Littauer Building - Fainsod Room, 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. 

Missile silo of a SS-24 missile, Strategic Missile Forces Museum in Ukraine. 8 March 2008.

Creative Commons

Seminar - Open to the Public

The Power of the NPT: International Norms and Nuclear Disarmament of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, 1990–1994

Thu., Dec. 1, 2016 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

Littauer Building - Belfer Center Library, Room 369

There is a lingering disagreement among scholars on how the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) affects nonproliferation and disarmament outcomes, in particular the political motivations of states to acquire or renounce nuclear weapons. Drawing on constructivist scholarship, this research project conceptualizes a range of normative mechanisms through which international norms and regimes could affect domestic political deliberations and proceeds to examine them in the cases of nuclear disarmament of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.

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

Film Screening: The Man Who Saved the World

Thu., Feb. 5, 2015 | 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Belfer Building - Starr Auditorium, Floor 2.5

The week of February 2-6, 2015, colleges and universities across the country will take part in a National Screening of this unreleased, award-winning movie about Stanislav Petrov, a former Soviet Lt. Colonel. On September 26, 1983, Petrov was the commanding officer on duty at a Soviet nuclear early warning center, when the system falsely reported the launching of five nuclear missiles from the United States. In the harrowing moments that followed, Petrov overruled the system's warning, personally declaring that it was a false alarm. This monumental decision very likely prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its Western allies. Petrov’s decision changed the fate of the world but turned his life upside down – which is poignantly told in the film. You can view the trailer for the movie here.

The Project on Managing the Atom will hold a screening for the Harvard community on February 5th at 6:00 PM in Starr Auditorium, followed by a discussion led by Lt. Col. Brandon Parker (USAF), a Research Fellow with the Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program, and Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice at HKS.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Miscalculated Ambiguity? Assessing the Strategic Implications of Conventional Prompt Global Strike

Fri., Feb. 21, 2014 | 10:00am - 11:30am

Littauer Building - Belfer Center Library, Room 369

For over a decade the United States has sought to develop non-nuclear weapons that could hit distant targets in a short period of time. Debate about this Conventional Prompt Global Strike Program has been dominated by one issue—the possibility that Russia (or another observing state) might mistake one of these weapons for a nuclear weapon and launch a nuclear response. Unfortunately, this narrow focus ignores other, more serious strategic risks as well as strategic benefits.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Wed., Jan. 29, 2014 | 3:00pm - 5:30pm

Littauer Building - Malkin Penthouse, 4th Floor

Please join the Managing the Atom/Defense and Intelligence Projects for a screening of the classic 1964 film, Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb on the 50th anniversary of its release.This co-sponsored event will be followed by a brief discussion on the most important questions the film raises, moderated by Research Fellows and United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonels Jay Folds (MTA/ISP) and Douglas Gosney (ISP).

Pizza and refreshments provided. Please join us - Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.