Philip MaxonPPNT 2010

I just returned from the three week course on Public Policy and Nuclear Threats at the IGCC school at University of California San Diego in La Jolla. Jeffrey made mention of the course back in March. It was a wonderful three weeks, with a great diverse group of fellows and speakers.  The program is not just for PhD political science students, but also policy wonks,  and technical oriented students/ workers. Discussions focused on the theory, policy, and technical details of nuclear weapons and threats.  The other fellows in the program all came from a diverse background of political science, nuclear physics and engineering, the national labs, and the NGO/ think tank world.

The course was split into three weeks, with the first focusing on the nuts and bolts of nuclear weapons, the weapons complex, deterrence theory, and force posture and structure. The second week dove into more technical details with the nonproliferation regime, the IAEA, the ins and outs of safeguards, monitoring, on-site inspections, nuclear forensics, and domestic nuclear interdictions. The final week examined proliferation causes and effects, Russia/ New START, Iran, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea, China, Europe/ NATO tactical nuclear weapons, and nuclear abolition.

As mentioned, the speakers were great and wide ranging, including Scott Sagan, Robert Powell, Marvin Adams, Jeffrey Larsen, Ambassador Susan Burk, Robert Kelley, Brad Roberts, Michael May, Ambassador Marcie Ries, Hans Kristensen, Frank Miller, Ambassador Jack Pritchard, Susan Shirk, and numerous others.

I also must note that Ambassador Linton Brooks was fantastic as scholar-in-residence for the duration of the course. He provided excellent information and answered any questions from the fellows. I must also commend Program Director and speaker Rob Brown for leading discussions and Laura Martin for providing logistical support for the group. Also, thanks to all the fellows who joined me in this years program to make it quite a success.

The three week course is a great chance for young professionals and students to get some real substance on the issue of nuclear weapons policy.  I strongly recommend someone who is serious about entering or advancing in the field to consider applying for the program next year. Plus, the weather in La Jolla  is great (even if it was cloudy 3/4 of the time I was there).


  1. Peter Sprunger (History)

    You should put a link to this on the PPNT facebook page.

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