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Video available for The Button: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump

December 30, 2020

Recently, U.S. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry joined Tom Z. Collina, Policy Director at Ploughshares Fund, to discuss the terrifying history of nuclear launch authority and the new nuclear arms race that has begun. Leela Fernandes, Director of the Jackson School of International Studies, moderated. Watch the video here! Recorded on December 8, 2020.

About the speakers:

William J. Perry served as the U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering in the Carter administration and then as Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration. He oversaw the development of the strategic nuclear systems that are currently in our arsenal. His new offset strategy ushered in the age of stealth, smart weapons, GPS, and technologies that changed the face of modern warfare. In 2007, Dr. Perry collaborated with George Shultz, Sam Nunn, and Henry Kissinger to publish several ground-breaking editorials in the Wall Street Journal that linked the vision of a world free from nuclear weapons with urgent but practical steps that could be taken to reduce nuclear dangers. Perry’s 2015 memoir, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” is a personal account of his lifelong effort to reduce nuclear dangers. He founded the William J. Perry Project to educate the public on these dangers. In 2020 Perry co-authored “THE BUTTON: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump.” He is the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor (emeritus) at Stanford University. Perry is the father of five, grandfather of eight, and great-grandfather of four. He continues to travel the world in pursuit of his goal of reducing the threat from nuclear weapons.

Tom Z. Collina is Director of Policy at Ploughshares Fund. He is the co-author with William J. Perry of “THE BUTTON: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump,” published in June 2020. Tom has 30 years of Washington, D.C. experience in nuclear weapons, missile defense and nonproliferation issues, and has held senior positions at the Arms Control Association, the Institute for Science and International Security, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. He has been directly involved with efforts to end U.S. nuclear testing, limit ineffective anti-missile programs, extend the Nonproliferation Treaty, and secure Senate ratification of the New START Treaty. He has published widely in major magazines and journals and has appeared frequently in the national media, including the New York Times, CNN, and NPR. He has testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and regularly briefs congressional staff. Tom has a degree in International Relations from Cornell University and lives in Takoma Park, MD with his wife, three children and dog. When away from the office he does not think about nuclear war.

This event was sponsored by the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and Center for Global Studies at the University of Washington, in partnership with Ploughshares Fund.