Wilson Center Experts

Alexander H. Montgomery

Fellow
History and Public Policy Program

Contact Information:
T 202/691-4015 // F 202/691-4001
Expertise:
Energy
;
Nuclear Energy
;
Environment
;
Science and Technology
;
Security and Defense
;
Asia
;
North Korea
;
Middle East and North Africa
;
Iran
Affiliation:
Associate Professor of Political Science, Reed College.
Wilson Center Project(s):
"Atomic Misconceptions: Why Common Assumptions about Nuclear Weapons are not only Wrong, but Dangerous"
Term:
Sep 16, 2013
-
May 23, 2014

Alexander H. Montgomery is an associate professor of Political Science at Reed College. He has published articles on dismantling proliferation networks and on the effects of social networks of international organizations on interstate conflict. His research interests include political organizations, social networks, weapons of mass disruption and destruction, social studies of technology, and interstate social relations. He has been a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow in Nuclear Security with a placement in the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Countering WMD; a Research Fellow at the Belfer Center at the Kennedy School of Government; and a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University. He has a B.A. in Physics from the University of Chicago, an M.A. in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University.

Project Summary

Scholars and pundits increasingly argue that the spread of nuclear technologies and knowledge ranging from civilian nuclear power plants and uranium enrichment facilities to rogue scientists with advanced weapons designs have inspired and accelerated weapons programs in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Yet every country has taken a longer period of time to develop nuclear weapons than the Manhattan Project; this is due to the difficulty of moving nuclear ideas and equipment across different domains both historically and in contemporary cases such as Iran and North Korea despite the development of complex clandestine supply networks. Discarding assumptions about the ease of nuclear technology transfer opens space for diplomatic, rather than military, efforts to contain and roll back nascent nuclear weapons programs.

Major Publications

  • "Misestimation: Explaining US Failures to Predict Nuclear Weapons Programs" (with Adam J. Mount), Intelligence and National Security, forthcoming Summer 2014.
  • "Stop Helping Me: When Nuclear Assistance Impedes Nuclear Programs", chapter 7 in The Nuclear Renaissance and International Security, ed. Adam Stulberg and Matt Fuhrmann, Stanford University Press, 2013.
  • "War, Trade, and Distrust: Why Trade Agreements Don’t Always Keep the Peace", Conflict Management and Peace Science 29, no.3 (Jul 2012): 257–278.

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