The Jack Ruina Nuclear Age Talk was held virtually on December 3, 2020. The annual event hosted by the MIT Security Studies Program was endowed by Jack Ruina, MIT Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering as well as one of the founders and first Director of the MIT Security Studies Program. The talk features a prominent speaker who discusses one of Professor Ruina’s major professional interests: nuclear weapons strategy and policy.
This year’s speaker was William J. Perry, former U.S. Secretary of Defense from 1994-1997. Reflecting on lessons learned from a decades-spanning career—beginning as a young sergeant in the Army of Occupation post-World War II in Japan, to his time as U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering in the Carter administration and U.S. Secretary of Defense during the Clinton administration—Secretary Perry’s talk on the nuclear bomb was both sobering and inspiring. Secretary Perry discussed how defense secretary could support the abolition of nuclear weapons and offered his insights on modern-day challenges for mitigating or eliminating the potential for a nuclear catastrophe.