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Event Details
The New Nuclear Arms Race
William J. Perry, Former Secretary of Defense; Tom Collina, Ploughshares Fund Policy Director

Wednesday, September 2, 2020 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Time Zone: America/Chicago
Local Time: Wednesday, September 2, 2020 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

It takes several acts of Congress to set the federal budget. Presidential appointments are subject to congressional approval. The Supreme Court can overrule executive orders. Yet the President, acting alone, can push the nuclear button.

Operating within a system designed around checks and balances, the President of the United States possesses unchecked authority to order a nuclear strike – without any oversight. President Clinton’s Secretary of Defense William Perry and nuclear expert Tom Collina argue that “Presidents, like all of us, make mistakes. They are only human. So, why do we give so much power to one fallible human?” In “The Button,” the authors recommend what is needed to update U.S. nuclear policy.

William Perry, a self-styled “Prophet of Doom,” served as Secretary of Defense (’94-‘97) under President Clinton. He is the founder of the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies and currently serves as the Director of the Preventative Defense Project at Stanford University. Perry has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He served in the U.S. Army of Occupation in Japan after World War II, where he witnessed the aftermath of the atomic bombs firsthand. He holds a B.S. and an M.S. in mathematics from Stanford, as well as a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University.

Tom Collina is a nuclear policy expert. He is the Director of Policy at Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. He was previously the Director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Institute for Science and International Security. He holds a degree in International Relations from Cornell University.


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