Nuclear weapons are once again at the top of the scholarly and policy agenda after being on the sidelines of discourse for decades. Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s brinkmanship have reignited concerns over nuclear war. Prospects for arms control agreements between the United States, Russia, and China appear dim, with the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and China’s nuclear buildup. Efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program face important challenges, and North Korea continues to develop its nuclear arsenal.
To better understand and address these increasingly complex and challenging realities, ISS launched the Nuclear Security Program (NSP). The Program is led by Associate Professor of Political Science Alexandre Debs. Housed within ISS, it will build on ISS’ s success in producing innovative research and teaching initiatives. Importantly, it also aims to diversify voices and perspectives on nuclear security.
Yale University has long been a pioneer in crafting debates around nuclear security. As the world was still reeling from the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Bernard Brodie at Yale’s Institute of International Studies conceptualized how we should contend with “the absolute weapon” and avoid nuclear war (Brodie 1946). Since then, Yale has trained a large group of academics to better understand our nuclear world, in its graduate programs and the ISS community. Yale students have also gone on to make key contributions to U.S. nuclear security and foreign policy more generally, including Dean Acheson (YC 1915), Roswell Gilpatric (YC 1928, Law 1931), Cyrus R. Vance (YC 1939, Law 1942), Paul Warnke (YC 1941), Gerald R. Ford, Jr. (Law 1941), George H. W. Bush (YC 1948), John F. Kerry (YC 1966), George W. Bush (YC 1968), William J. Clinton (Law 1973), Hillary R. Clinton (Law 1973), and Jake Sullivan (YC 1998, Law 2003).