SSP Virtual Hallway Chat: The World Has Gone Nuclear | 2021 | News

SSP Virtual Hallway Chat: The World Has Gone Nuclear
Brittany Logan

A new year brings a new presidency and new security issues to address. Although the halls of E-40 remain mostly empty these days due to pandemic precautions, we imagine some of the hallway chatter would focus on the recent front-page stories about nuclear threats, strategy, proliferation and politics. MIT SSP’s faculty and fellows have been at the forefront of some of these conversations, using their expertise to provide invaluable insight on the complicated security issues behind nuclear weapons. Below are a few highlights.

The SSP community began 2021 still ruminating over December’s incredible Jack Ruina Nuclear Age talk given by former U.S. Secretary of Defense, William J. Perry. Secretary Perry’s thoughts on the current challenges in abolishing nuclear weapons and removing the threat of nuclear catastrophe were a poignant and stark reminder of the work SSP does and how much remains to be done.

February brought news of the U.S. and Russia extending the terms of the New START treaty for five years. SSP Senior Research Associate and nuclear weapons expert, Dr. Jim Walsh, appeared on WBUR’s (NPR) Here & Now to explain the deal, its impact and implications.

No discussion about nuclear weapons is complete without acknowledging the nuances of nuclear declaratory policy. SSP nuclear weapons expert, Vipin Narang, along with Ankit Panda (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Stanton Senior Fellow, Nuclear Policy Program), explained why “sole use” is not the same as “no first use,” and what the impact of each could be if used in War on the Rocks.
The ides of March brought news of Britain increasing its nuclear stock pile for the first time since the Cold War. SSP Stanton Nuclear Fellow, Heather Williams, contributed to the analysis on the catalyst for change in The Economist

Finally, SSP Director Taylor Fravel and Vipin Narang hosted Admiral Charles “Chas” Richard, Commander of US Strategic Command, at SSP to discuss US nuclear security.  


Still need more nuclear talk?

We kicked off the 2020-2021 Wednesday Seminar Series with an excellent presentation from Slate journalist, Fred Kaplan, entitled: “The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War.”

Wonder what goes into nuclear crisis decision making? Our Wednesday Seminar with Sharon Weiner, Associate Professor at American University's School of International Service, dove deep into the process with: “Virtual Reality and Nuclear Crisis Decision Making.”

For more information on our Wednesday Seminar Series, please visit our website and subscribe to our YouTube channel.