Vipin Narang | People

Vipin Narang
Associate Professor of Political Science


VIPIN NARANG is Associate Professor of Political Science at MIT and a member of MIT’s Security Studies Program. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Government, Harvard University in May 2010, where he was awarded the Edward M. Chase Prize for the best dissertation in international relations. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering with distinction from Stanford University and an M. Phil with Distinction in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where he studied on a Marshall Scholarship. He has been a fellow at Harvard University’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, a predoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a Stanton junior faculty fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. His research interests include nuclear proliferation and strategy, South Asian security, and general security studies.

His first book Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era (Princeton University Press, 2014) on the deterrence strategies of regional nuclear powers won the 2015 ISA International Security Studies Section Best Book Award. He is currently working on his second book, Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation (Princeton University Press, under contract), which explores how states pursue nuclear weapons. His work has been published in several journals including International Security, Journal of Conflict Resolution, The Washington Quarterly, and International Organization.




Publications|Selected Publications

Vipin Narang, "North Korea's Nuclear Program Isn't Going Anywhere," Foreign Affairs, August 13, 2018. With Ankit Panda.

Vipin Narang, "North Korea Is a Nuclear Power. Get Used to It," New York Times, June 12, 2018. With Ankit Panda.

Vipin Narang, "North Korea Defied the Theoretical Odds: What Can We Learn From its Successful Nuclearization?" Texas National Security Review, February 13, 2018. With Nicholas L. Miller.

Vipin Narang, "Democratic Accountability and Foreign Security Policy: Theory and Evidence From India," Security Studies, January 8, 2018. With Paul Staniland.

Vipin Narang, "Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation," International Security, Vol 41, No. 3 (Winter 2016/17), pp. 110-150.

Vipin Narang, “Civil-Military Pathologies and Defeat in War: Tests Using New Data,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, January 2017. With Caitlin Talmadge.

Vipin Narang, "Five Myths about India's Nuclear Posture," The Washington Quarterly, 36.3, Summer 2013, pp. 143-157.

Vipin Narang, "What Does it Take to Deter? Regional Power Nuclear Postures and International Conflict," Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 57, no. 3 (June, 2013), pp. 478-508.

Vipin Narang, "Posturing for Peace? Pakistan's Nuclear Postures and South Asian Stability," International Security, vol. 34, no. 3 (Winter, 2010), pp. 38-78.

Vipin Narang, "Who are These Belligerent Democratizers? Reassessing the Impact of Democratization on War," International Organization, vol. 63, no. 2 (April 2009), pp. 357–379. With Rebecca M. Nelson.





BBC World Service - Newshour, "What did Trump and Kim actually agree on?" June 12, 2018.

WBUR, "Singapore Summit Preview," June 11, 2018.

NPR's All Things Considered, "Pentagon Wants to Deploy 'Low Yield Nuclear Weapons' to Deter Russia From Similar Ones," May 7, 2018.


Harvard University: "North Korea as a Nuclear Weapons State," September 18, 2018.


WOTR Podcast: "A Big Debate About A Little Nuke," War On The Rocks, March 14, 2018, with Frank Miller, Olga Oliker, Usha Sahay, and Ryan Evans.



Quoted in "Satellite images reveal hidden North Korean missile bases,", November 13, 2018.


Quoted in "North Korea Keeping Up Work on Missile Sites, Report Says," Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2018.


Quoted in "Amid stalled talks, North Korea keeps developing secret ballistic missile sites," ABCNews, November 12, 2018.


Quoted in "North Korea Weaponizes Its Deal With Trump To Tangle Talks," New York Times, October 12, 2018.


Quoted in "Pompeo Hails 'Significant' North Korea Progress; Experts Skeptical," New York Times, October 9, 2018.


Quoted in "Experts dismiss North Korea's latest concession to the U.S.," NBC News, October 8, 2018.


Quoted in "As Pompeo heads for Pyongyang, North Korea appears to raise its demands," The Washington Post, October 3, 2018.


Quoted in "First UN Mil-Mil Talks With North Korea In 11 years; What They Mean,", September 25, 2018.


Quoted extensively in "Experts are Underwhelmed By North Korea's Promise To Dismantle Missile Site,", September 19, 2018.


Quoted in "North Korea's New Nuclear Promises Fall Short of U.S. Demands," New York Times, September 19, 2018.


Quoted in "'Grand Theater': Has N. Korea's Kim Won a Propaganda Coup?" New York Times, September 18, 2018.


Quoted in "Korean summit: Can Moon and Kim deliver Trump a nuclear win or is it all talk?" South China Morning Post, September 17, 2018.


Quoted in "North Korea's Kim sets denuclearization time line, prompting thanks from Trump," Reuters, September 5, 2018.


Quoted in "Trump blames China for the impasse with North Korea. But the real fault may lie closer to home.," Washington Post, August 30, 2018.


Quoted in "Trump says China actions 'not helpful' in denuclearising N Korea," Financial Times, August 29, 2018.


Quoted in "Donald Trump Sorrowfully Cancels Another North Korea Meeting," The Atlantic, August 24, 2018.


Quoted in "Donald Trump cancels Mike Pompeo visit to North Korea," Financial Times, August 24, 2018.


Quoted in "Thank you for being alive: South Korean family prepares for what might be a last reunion," The Guardian, August 19, 2018.


Quoted in "Why North Korean nukes are still on the table," The Washington Post, August 13, 2018.


Quoted in "Satellite Images Indicate North Korea Has Started Dismantling Rocket Launch Site," Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2018.


Quoted in "Trump releases Kim Jong Un letter, touts 'great progress' despite challenging signs," CNN, July 12, 2018.


Quoted in "North Korea may have offered its clearest view yet of denuclearization," The Washington Post, July 8, 2018.


Quoted in "North Korea Declares U.S. Diplomacy 'Gangster-Like," The New Yorker, July 8, 2018.


Quoted in "U.S. Has Plan to Dismantle North Korea Nuclear Program Within a Year: Bolton," New York Times, July 2, 2018.


Quoted in "Is North Korea secretly continuing its nuclear programme?" BBC News, July 2, 2018.


Quoted in "US secretary of state Pompeo to visit North Korea next week," Financial Times, June 28, 2018.


Quoted in "Satellite images show North Korea upgrading nuclear facility," CNN, June 27, 2018.


Quoted in "Kim Jong Un ends visit to China with a message for the US," CNN, June 20, 2018.


One of several commentators in a CNN piece titled "What just happened? Experts break it down." His piece is titled "Singapore summit buys both Trump and Kim Time." CNN, June 12, 2018.


Quoted in "Trump and Kim nuclear summit agreement contains no new promises," NBC News, June 12, 2018.


Quoted in "U.S. officials meet with North Koreans despite uncertainty surrounding Trump-Kim Summit." The Washington Post, May 27, 2018.


Quoted in "North Korea Skeptics Proved Right," Financial Times, May 24, 2018.


Quoted in "Trump Calls Off Upcoming North Korea Summit," Voice of America, May 24, 2018.


Quoted in "How Kim Jong Un got cold feet," The Washington Post, May 17, 2018.


Quoted in "Trump faces North Korea dilemma after Bolton infuriates Pyongyang," The Guardian, May 17, 2018


Quoted in "Denuclearization: Can Trump and Kim Find a Common Definition?" Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2018.


Quoted in "Trump tempers enthusiasm for North Korea nuclear pledge," Financial Times, April 24, 2018.


Quoted in "An Unpredictable Trump and a Risk-Prone Kim Mean High Stakes and Mismatched Expectations," New York Times, April 23, 2018.


Quoted in "North Korea's definition of 'denuclearization' is very different from Trump's," The Washington Post, April 9, 2018.


Quoted extensively in "What Could Go Wrong? Pitfalls Pose Risks In Trump, Kim Talks," New York Times, March 9, 2018.


Quoted in "U.N. Report Links North Korea to Syrian Chemical Weapons," Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2018.


Quoted in "North Korea Won Pyeongchang Political Gold, but What's Next?" New York Times, February 12, 2018.


Quoted in "North Korea Is Not the Threat Trump Would Have You Believe," The Atlantic, January 31, 2018.


Quoted extensively in "India test-fires Agni-V, a nuclear-capable ICBM,", January 18, 2018.


Quoted in "Hawaii and the Horror of Human Error," The Atlantic, January 15, 2018.


Quoted in "Hawaii False Alarm Hints at Thin Line Between Mishap and Nuclear War," New York Times, January 14, 2018.


Quoted in "Few Checks Can Keep Trump's Hands Off His 'Nuclear Button'," US News & World Report, January 3, 2018.


Interview in Technology Review: "Sizing Up the North Korea Showdown," December 19, 2017.


Quoted in "Tillerson: US won't set preconditions for North Korea talks," CNN, December 13, 2017.


Quoted in "North Korea is a nuclear state. But can the U.S. accept that?" Washington Post, December 9, 2017.


Quoted in "A dangerous choice looms for Trump on North Korea,", December 8, 2017.


Quoted in "New North Korean Missile Is A 'Monster'," NPR, November 30, 2017.


Quoted in "North Korea has shown us its new missile, and it's scarier than we thought," Washington Post, November 30, 2017.


Quoted in "North Korea Claims New Missile Makes It A Nuclear Power," NPR, November 29, 2017.


Quoted in "North Korea, What we know about the new missile," BBC News, November 29, 2017.


Quoted in "Analysis: N. Korea May Declare 'Victory,' Turn to Economy," New York Times, November 29, 2017.


Quoted in "North Korea Launches Biggest ICBM Yet, Despite U.S. Sanctions," Foreign Policy, November 28, 2017.


Quoted in "North Korea may be producing rare rocket fuel also known as 'devil's venom'," The Telegraph, October 26, 2017.


Quoted in "North Korea Threatens U.S. With 'Strongest Hydrogen Bomb Test Over The Pacific Ocean,'" Newsweek, October 25, 2017.


Quoted in "A Nuclear Deal with North Korea May Be Tillerson's Mission Impossible," New York Times, October 2, 2017.


Quoted in "No one wants another H-bomb test in the Pacific," Popular Science, September 28, 2017.


Quoted in "Remote Textile Plant May Secretly Fuel North Korea's Weapons," New York Times, September 27, 2017.


Quoted in "A North Korea Nuclear Test Over the Pacific? Logical, Terrifying," New York Times, September 22, 2017.


Quoted in "Kim Jong Un: 'Deranged' Trump will 'pay dearly' for threat," Washington Post, September 22, 2017.


Quoted in "North Korea could test hydrogen bomb over Pacific Ocean, says foreign minister,", September 22, 2017.


Quoted in "What happens if North Korea tests a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific?", September 22, 2017.


Quoted in "Q&A: America's Options on a Nuclear North Korea," The Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2017.


Quoted in "North Korea wants the world to know it has a working thermonuclear bomb," Popular Science, September 6, 2017.


Quoted in "How Did North Korea's Missile and Nuclear Tech Get So Good So Fast," The Atlantic, September 6, 2017.


Quoted extensively in "How Can US Stop North Korea Nukes? 3 Experts Have Ideas," New York Times, September 6, 2017.


Quoted in "With Powerful Bomb, Kim Dares Both Trump and Xi to Stop Him,", September 3, 2017.


Quoted in "In latest test, North Korea detonates its most powerful nuclear device yet," Washington Post, September 3, 2017.


Quoted in "Don't be surprised by North Korea's missiles. Kim Jong Un is doing what he said he would," Washington Post, August 31, 2017.


Quoted in "Analysis: Is North Korea Winning Deterrence War with US?" New York Times, August 29, 2017.


Quoted in "Pakistan finds itself on the defensive in Trump's Afghan war strategy," Los Angeles Times, August 22, 2017.


Quoted extensively in "US faces critical moment to negotiate with North Korea, experts warn," The Guardian, August 15, 2017.


Quoted in "The frightening new developments in Trump's standoff with North Korea, explained,", August 1, 2017.


Quoted in "Missile Launch by North Korea increases threat to US," Financial Times, July 28, 2017.


Quoted in "North Korea and Its Weapons Programs Are Now a Fact of Life," New York Times, July 7, 2017.


Quoted extensively in "European Nuclear Weapons Program Would Be Legal, German Review Finds," New York Times, July 5, 2017.


Quoted in "North Korea showed off a lot of missiles. What might be its targets?" Washington Post, May 18, 2017.


Quoted in "We're Edging Closer to Nuclear War,", May 15, 2017.


Quoted in "India and Pakistan Escalate Nuclear Arms Race," The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2017.


Quoted in "India, Long at Odds With Pakistan, May Be Rethinking Nuclear First Strikes," New York Times, March 31, 2017.


Quoted in "Fearing U.S. Withdrawal, Europe Considers Its Own Nuclear Deterrent,' New York Times, March 6, 2017.


Quoted in "In Kim Jong-nam's Death, North Korea Lets Loose a Weapon of Mass Destruction," New York Times, February 24, 2017.


Quoted in "Trump wants a 'top of the pack' nuclear program: does that actually signal a shift?" Christian Science Monitor, February 24, 2017.


Quoted extensively in "Trump, Promising Arms Race, Could Set World on Uncertain Path" New York Times, December 23, 2016.


Quoted extensively in "Trump's Nuclear Weapons Tweet, Translated and Explained," New York Times, December 22, 2016.


MIT News Office interview, July 24, 2015, The US-Nuclear Deal: MIT experts size it up.