Tobin Hosts Workshop on Reassessing Threat Assessment in the Early Nuclear Era

On October 20th and 21st, the Tobin Project’s National Security initiative held a workshop on Reassessing Threat Assessment from the early nuclear era. Tobin’s work on Reassessing Threat Assessment seeks to build understanding of the practices and processes that yield accurate and reliable assessments of national security risks facing the United States. Our recent workshop was designed to build on a meeting Tobin held in March that gathered fifteen scholars at MIT to propose and discuss new research investigating strategic assessments from the twenty-five years following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the meeting, the scholars continued to develop their work with guidance from Tobin. Our recent workshop gave these and other scholars who expressed enthusiasm for this research agenda an opportunity to discuss early-stage papers and proposals from a group of thirty leading political scientists and historians.

Scholars presented and received feedback on working papers and research proposals covering a range of issues, including:

  • Comparisons of US and UK assessments of the Soviet Union’s race to develop an atomic bomb
  • US efforts to assess proliferation intentions of other great powers during the early Cold War
  • The Nixon Administration’s decision to pursue qualitative improvements to nuclear delivery systems during the arms buildups of the late 1960s and early 1970s

We are excited by the focus and rigor of the projects presented and are especially grateful for the guidance of the initiative’s scholar-leaders: Jeremi Suri (Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs, University of Texas, Austin), Benjamin Valentino (Professor of Government, Dartmouth College), and Arne Westad (S.T. Lee Professor of U.S.-Asia Relations, Harvard Kennedy School). The Tobin Project will reconvene participants in 2018 to finalize papers and discuss their findings with policymakers, who will offer their insights into the implications of this research for contemporary policy.

News Category: 
National Security
Tobin Project News