Public Access Records Office
The National Academies
500 5th Street NW
Room KECK 219
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: (202) 334-3543
Email: paro@nas.edu
Project Information

Project Information


Risk Analysis Methods for Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism


Project Scope:

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will convene an ad hoc committee of experts to examine whether a risk assessment framework is applicable to determining the potential risks of nuclear terrorism and nuclear war; and to examine assumptions in nuclear policy and doctrine and their implications on national security.During this examination, the committee will undertake the following:

  1. Identify risks associated with nuclear terrorism and nuclear war;
  2. Explore the prior literature relevant to assessing risks of nuclear terrorism and nuclear war;
  3. Assess the role that quantitative and nonquantitative analytical methods can play in estimating such risks, including the limitations of such analysis; 
  4. Identify and examine the assumptions about nuclear risks that underlie the national security strategy of the United States; and
  5. Describe the consequences or impacts of the methods and assumptions that have been, are, or could be used in developing the nuclear security strategy of the United States.

The committee will issue an unclassified interim report which may include findings and recommendations regarding the use of analytical methods to assess the risks of nuclear terrorism and nuclear war.

At the conclusion of the study, the committee will issue a final report that expands upon the use of analytical methods to assess the risks of nuclear terrorism and nuclear war and the role such approaches may play in U.S. security strategy. This final report may include findings and recommendations supported by classified information.

Status: Current

PIN: DEPS-BMSA-20-01

Project Duration (months): 24 month(s)

RSO: Heimberg, Jennifer

Topic(s):

Conflict and Security Issues
Math, Chemistry, and Physics


Parent Project(s): N/A


Child Project(s): N/A



Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

Committee Post Date: 02/01/2021

William C. Ostendorff - (Co-Chair)
William C. Ostendorff (U.S. Navy-retired) joined the Naval Academy’s Political Science Department as the Class of 1960 Distinguished Visiting Professor in National Security in August 2016. Captain Ostendorff served as Principal Deputy Administrator at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in the Bush Administration (2007-2009) and as a Commissioner at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC, 2010-2016) in the Obama Administration prior to joining the Naval Academy faculty. From 2003 to 2007, he was a member of the staff of the House Armed Services Committee. Captain Ostendorff was an officer in the US Navy from 1976 until he retired in 2002. Entering the Rickover Nuclear Navy, he served on six submarines. During his naval career, he commanded a nuclear attack submarine, a nuclear attack submarine squadron and served as Director of the Division of Mathematics and Science at the US Naval Academy. His military decorations include four awards of the Legion of Merit and numerous unit and campaign awards. He earned a bachelor degree in systems engineering from the United States Naval Academy, a law degree from the University of Texas and a master’s in international and comparative law from Georgetown University.
M. Elisabeth Paté-Cornell - (Co-Chair)
Dr. M. Elisabeth Pate-Cornell is Burt and Deedee McMurtry Professor and Chair of the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University. Her specialty is engineering risk analysis with application to complex systems (space, medical). Her research has focused on explicit consideration of human and organizational factors in the analysis of failure risks, and recently on the use of game theory in risk analysis. Applications in the last few years have included counter-terrorism and nuclear counter-proliferation problems. She is a member of several boards, including Aerospace, Draper, and InQtel. She was a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board until December 2008. She received a Ph.D. in engineering economic systems from Stanford University. Dr. Pate-Cornell was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1995.
David L. Banks
Dr. David L Banks is professor of the practice of statistics at Duke University. Prior to this, he worked for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, served as chief statistician of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and worked for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Banks was coordinating editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association, and co-founded the journal Statistics and Public Policy and the American Statistical Association's Section on National Defense and Homeland Security. He served as president of the Classification Society, and has twice served on the board of directors of the American Statistical Association. He is currently president of the International Society for Business and Industrial Statistics, and fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. Dr. Banks recently won the American Statistical Association's Founders Award. His research areas include models for dynamic networks, dynamic text networks, adversarial risk analysis (i.e., Bayesian behavioral game theory), human rights statistics, agent-based models, forensics, and certain topics in high-dimensional data analysis. He has a B.A. degree in anthropology from the University of Virginia, M.S. degrees in mathematics and statistics from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a Ph.D. in statistics also from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Vicki M. Bier
Dr. Vicki Bier recently retired from a joint appointment as Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the Department of Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She directed the Center for Human Performance and Risk Analysis (formerly the Center for Human Performance in Complex Systems) from 1995 to 2021. She has over 40 years of experience in risk analysis for the nuclear power, chemical, petrochemical, and aerospace industries, as well as homeland security and critical-infrastructure protection. Dr. Bier’s recent research has focused on applications of risk analysis and related methods to problems of security, critical infrastructure protection, and emergency management. Dr. Bier received the Women’s Achievement Award from the American Nuclear Society in 1993, and was elected a Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis in 1996, from which she received the Distinguished Achievement Award in 2007. She is also a Past President of the Decision Analysis Society, and editor-in-chief of the society’s flagship journal, Decision Analysis. She has participated in panels, committees, and subcommittees of the National Research Council dealing with radioactive-waste management, and a committee to review the Department of Homeland Security’s approach to risk analysis, and served on the Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications from 2014-2016. She received a PhD in operations research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983, and a BS in mathematical sciences from Stanford University in 1976.
Matthew G. Bunn
Mr. Matthew Bunn is the James R. Schlesinger Professor of the Practice of Energy, National Security, and Foreign Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. His research interests include nuclear theft and terrorism; nuclear proliferation and measures to control it; the future of nuclear energy and its fuel cycle; and innovation in energy technologies. Before coming to Harvard, Bunn served as an adviser to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, as a study director at the National Academy of Sciences, and as editor of Arms Control Today. He is the author or co-author of more than 25 books or major technical reports (most recently Revitalizing Nuclear Security in an Era of Uncertainty), and over 150 articles in publications ranging from Science to The Washington Post.
Nancy J. Cooke
Dr. Nancy J. Cooke is a Professor of Human Systems Engineering and is the Director of the Center for Human and Artificial Intelligence and Robot Teaming at ASU. She is trained as a cognitive psychologist and has been doing research on assessing teamwork for nearly 25 years. Cooke received her B.A. in psychology from George Mason University in 1981 and her MA and PhD in Cognitive Psychology from New Mexico State University in 1983/1987. Cooke chaired the National Academies Board on Human Systems Integration from 2012-2016 and was a member of the Consensus Study on Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage in 2006.
Raymond Jeanloz
Dr. Raymond Jeanloz is a professor of Earth and planetary science and astronomy at the University of California at Berkeley, and Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In addition to his scientific research on the evolution of planetary interiors and properties of materials at high pressures, he works at the interface between science and policy in areas related to national and international security, resources and the environment, and education. Dr. Jeanloz is a member of the JASON group that provides technical advice to the U.S. government, and chairs the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control; he has served on the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board, and is past chair of the National Research Council (NRC) Board on Earth Sciences and Resources. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, American Physical Society and Mineralogical Society of America. Dr. Jeanloz holds a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology.
Madhav Marathe
Dr. Madhav Marathe is a Distinguished Professor in Biocomplexity, the division director of the Networks, Simulation Science and Advanced Computing Division at the Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative, and a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia (UVA). His research interests are in network science, computational epidemiology, AI, foundations of computing, socially coupled system science and high performance computing. Over the past 25 years, he and his colleagues have developed scalable computational methods to study the social, economic and health impacts of large-scale natural and human initiated disasters. The tools and methods have been used in over 50 case studies to inform and assess various policy questions pertaining to planning and response in the event of such disasters. Before joining UVA, he held positions at Virginia Tech, the Los Alamos National Laboratory and was the inaugural George Michael Fellow at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Richard W. Mies
Admiral Mies completed a distinguished 35-year career as a nuclear submariner in the Navy and commanded US Strategic Command for four years prior to retirement in 2002. He served as a Senior Vice President of Science Applications International Corporation from 2002-2007. He also served as the Chairman of the Department of Defense Threat Reduction Advisory Committee from 2004-2010 and as Vice Chairman of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. He presently serves as the Chairman of the Strategic Advisory Group of US Strategic Command and is a member of the Board of Governors of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a member of Committee on International Security and Arms Control at the National Academy of Sciences. He completed post-graduate education at Oxford University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and Harvard University.
Gregory Parnell
Dr. Gregory S. Parnell is a Professor of Practice in the Industrial Engineering in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Director of the M.S. in Operations Management (the university’s largest graduate program) and M.S. in Engineering Management programs at the University of Arkansas. His research focuses on decision analysis, risk analysis, systems engineering, and resource allocation for defense; intelligence; homeland security; and environmental management. He is a Professor Emeritus at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Previously, he served as a Professor of Systems Engineering at West Point, a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, an Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Department Head at the Air Force Institute of Technology. Dr. Parnell is a former president of the Decision Analysis Society of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) and of the Military Operations Research Society (MORS). He has also served as editor of the Journal of Military Operations Research. Dr. Parnell has participated in four NASEM Committees. He chaired the Committee on Methodological Improvements to the Department of Homeland Security's Biological Agent Risk Analysis (2008) and the Review of the Inspection Programs for Offshore Oil and Gas Operations (2021). He was a member of the Committee on Improving Metrics for the Department of Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (2011), and the Committee on Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture, (2013). He is a fellow of International Committee for Systems Engineering, INFORMS, MORS, and the Society for Decision Professionals. He received his B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Buffalo, his M.E. in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Florida, his M.S. in systems management from the University of Southern California, and his Ph.D. in engineering-economic systems from Stanford University. Dr. Parnell is a retired Air Force Colonel and a graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Scott D. Sagan
Dr. Scott D. Sagan is the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science, the Mimi and Peter Haas University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University. He also serves as Chairman of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Committee on International Security Studies. Before joining the Stanford faculty, Sagan was a lecturer in the Department of Government at Harvard University and served as special assistant to the director of the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Sagan is a scholar of nuclear issues and is the author, among other works, of Moving Targets: Nuclear Strategy and National Security (Princeton University Press, 1989); The Limits of Safety: Organizations, Accidents, and Nuclear Weapons (Princeton University Press, 1993); and, with co-author Kenneth N. Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: An Enduring Debate (W.W. Norton, 2012). Recent publications include “Does the Noncombatant Immunity Norm Have Stopping Power?” with Benjamin A. Valentino in International Security (Fall 2020); “Why the atomic bombing of Hiroshima would be illegal today” with Katherine E. McKinney and Allen S. Weiner in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (July 2020); and “Armed and Dangerous: When Dictators Get the Bomb” in Foreign Affairs (October 2018). In 2017, Sagan received the International Studies Association’s Susan Strange Award which recognizes the scholar whose “singular intellect, assertiveness, and insight most challenge conventional wisdom and intellectual and organizational complacency" in the international studies community. Sagan was the recipient of the National Academy of Sciences William and Katherine Estes Award in 2015, for his work addressing the risks of nuclear weapons use and the causes of nuclear proliferation.
James Scouras
Dr. James Scouras is a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the former chief scientist of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Advanced Systems and Concepts Office. His research focuses on nuclear strategy and global catastrophic risk analysis. Previously, he was program director for risk analysis at the Homeland Security Institute, held research positions at the Institute for Defense Analyses and the RAND Corporation, and lectured on nuclear policy in the University of Maryland’s General Honors Program. His recent publications include “Nuclear War as a Global Catastrophic Risk” (J. Benefit Cost Analysis, 2019). Publication of his edited volume, On Assessing the Risk of Nuclear War, is anticipated in 2021. Dr. Scouras earned his Ph.D. in 1980 from the University of Maryland and his B.S. in 1969 from the University of Rochester, both in physics.
Paul Slovic
Dr. Paul Slovic received his B.A. degree from Stanford University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from the University of Michigan. In 1976, Dr. Slovic founded the research institute Decision Research with Sarah Lichtenstein and Baruch Fischhoff, where he currently serves as President. He has been a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon since 1986. He and his colleagues worldwide have developed methods to describe risk perceptions and measure their impacts on individuals, industry, and society. His recent research examines “psychic numbing” and the failure to respond to global threats from genocide and nuclear war. Dr. Slovic is a past President of the Society for Risk Analysis and in 1991 received its Distinguished Contribution Award. In 1993 he received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association. In 1995 he received the Outstanding Contribution to Science Award from the Oregon Academy of Science. He has received honorary doctorates from the Stockholm School of Economics (1996) and the University of East Anglia (2005). Dr. Slovic was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2016. He has served on numerous committees of the National Academy of Sciences including those that produced the reports “Risk Assessment in the Federal Government” (1983) and “Understanding Risk: Informing Decisions in a Democratic Society” (1996).
Alyson G. Wilson
Dr. Alyson Wilson is the associate vice chancellor for National Security and Special Research Initiatives at North Carolina State University. She is also a professor in the Department of Statistics, principal investigator for the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences, and director of the Data Science Initiative. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her research interests include statistical reliability, Bayesian methods, and the application of statistics to problems in defense and national security. Prior to joining NC State, Dr. Wilson was a research staff member at the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute in Washington, DC (2011-2013); an associate professor in the Department of Statistics at Iowa State University (2008-2011); a technical staff member in the Statistical Sciences Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she continues as a guest scientist; and a senior statistician and operations research analyst with Cowboy Programming Resources (1995-1999). Dr. Wilson is the winner of the American Statistical Association Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security Distinguished Achievement Award (2018), NC State Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award (2017), and the Army Wilks Memorial Award (2015). In addition to numerous publications, Dr. Wilson has co-authored a book, Bayesian Reliability, and has co-edited two other books, Statistical Methods in Counterterrorism: Game Theory, Modeling, Syndromic Surveillance, and Biometric Authentication and Modern Statistical and Mathematical Methods in Reliability. She has participated in seven previous National Academies’ studies, including the Committee on Methodological Improvements to the Department of Homeland Security's Biological Agent Risk Analysis. Dr. Wilson received her Ph.D. in Statistics from Duke University.

Events


Event Type :  
-

Description :   

The Committee on Risk Analysis Methods for Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism will hold its fourth meeting.  Closed session will be devoted to a discussion of the statement of task, evidence ad data needs, and possible report structures.  Invited speakers will join the comittee during open session.



Registration for in Person Attendance :   
N/A


If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Marguerite Schneider
Contact Email:  MSchneider@nas.edu
Contact Phone:  -

Supporting File(s)
-
Is it a Closed Session Event?
Some sessions are open and some sessions are closed

Publication(s) resulting from the event:

-

Event Type :  
-

Description :   

The Committee on Risk Analysis Methods for Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism will hold its third meeting.  Closed session will be devoted to a discussion of the statement of task, evidence and data needs, and possible report structures.  Invited speakers will join the committee during open session.



Registration for in Person Attendance :   
N/A


If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Marguerite Schneider
Contact Email:  MSchneider@nas.edu
Contact Phone:  -

Supporting File(s)
-
Is it a Closed Session Event?
Some sessions are open and some sessions are closed

Publication(s) resulting from the event:

-

Event Type :  
-

Description :   

The Committee on Risk Analysis for Nuclear War & Nuclear Terrorism will hold a closed meeting of the committee.


Registration for Online Attendance :   
N/A

Registration for in Person Attendance :   
N/A


If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Marguerite Schneider
Contact Email:  MSchneider@nas.edu
Contact Phone:  -

Supporting File(s)
-
Is it a Closed Session Event?
Yes

Publication(s) resulting from the event:

-

Event Type :  
Meeting

Description :   

The Committee on Risk Analysis for Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism will hold its first meeting. Closed sessions will be devoted to a discussion of appropriate balance and composition of committee, review of the statement of task, review of the project plan and timeline, and developing a data gathering strategy to accomplish the items in the statement of task. Open sessions will focus on input from study sponsors and stakeholders.

A livestream of the open sessions will be available on this webpage.



Registration for in Person Attendance :   
N/A


If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Marguerite Schneider
Contact Email:  MSchneider@nas.edu
Contact Phone:  -

Supporting File(s)
-
Is it a Closed Session Event?
Some sessions are open and some sessions are closed

Closed Session Summary Posted After the Event

The following committee members were present at the closed sessions of the event:

David Banks
Vicki Bier
Matthew Bunn
Nancy Cooke
Raymond Jeanloz
Madhav Marathe
Richard Mies
Bill Ostendorff
Elisabeth Pate-Cornell
Gregory Parnell
Scott Sagan
Jim Scouras
Paul Slovic
Alyson Wilson

The following topics were discussed in the closed sessions:

The consensus study process and the study's project plan
The committee's initial interpretation of the statement of task
Balance and composition of the committee
Reaction to open session sponsor and stakeholder briefings
Planning for future committee meetings

The following materials (written documents) were made available to the committee in the closed sessions:

McClellan, R. O. (2020). Chapter 43 - Health effects of nuclear weapons and releases of radioactive materials. In R. C. Gupta (Ed.), Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents (Third Edition) (pp. 707-743). Boston: Academic Press.

Prof. Martin Hellman, Stanford University - Comments on NRC Study Mandated by Section 1674 of the FY2020 NDAA

Date of posting of Closed Session Summary:
March 01, 2021
Publication(s) resulting from the event:

-

Publications

  • Publications having no URL can be seen at the Public Access Records Office
Publications

No data present.