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William H. Tobey

Mailing address

Littauer P-24
79 JFK Street
Mailbox 53
Cambridge, MA, 02138

William H. Tobey

Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Telephone: 617-496-0518
Fax: 617-495-8963
Email: william_tobey@hks.harvard.edu

 

Experience

William Tobey was most recently Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration. There, he managed the U.S. government's largest program to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism by detecting, securing, and disposing of dangerous nuclear material. Mr. Tobey also served on the National Security Council Staff in three administrations, in defense policy, arms control, and counter-proliferation positions. He has participated in international negotiations ranging from the START talks with the Soviet Union, to the Six Party Talks with North Korea. He also has extensive experience in investment banking and venture capital.

 

 

By Date

 

2016

AP

April 1, 2016

"Summit Underscores Obama's Mixed Results on Nuclear Security"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Los Angeles Times

By William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

President Obama convened more than 50 world leaders in Washington this week hoping that international progress on one of his long-standing policy priorities, nonproliferation, would outlast his administration, but the gathering served mostly to highlight the mixed record of Obama’s nuclear agenda.

 

 

commons.wikimedia.org

April 4, 2016

"Could There Be a Terrorist Fukushima?"

Op-Ed, The New York Times

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School and William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The attacks in Brussels last month were a stark reminder of the terrorists’ resolve, and of our continued vulnerabilities, including in an area of paramount concern: nuclear security.

The attackers struck an airport and the subway, but some Belgian investigators believe they seemed to have fallen back on those targets because they felt the authorities closing in on them, and that their original plan may have been to strike a nuclear plant. A few months ago, during a raid in the apartment of a suspect linked to the November attacks in Paris, investigators found surveillance footage of a senior Belgian nuclear official. Belgian police are said to have connected two of the Brussels terrorists to that footage.

 

 

March 31, 2016

"Will the Nuclear Security Summit Help Stop Terrorists from Getting the Bomb?"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Martin B. Malin, Executive Director, Project on Managing the Atom and Nickolas Roth, Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

"Today and tomorrow, world leaders will gather for what will likely be the final international summit on security for nuclear weapons and the materials needed to make them—a key tool for preventing nuclear terrorism. The last time this group met, at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague, they declared that preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons or weapons-usable materials remained “one of the most important challenges in the years to come.” Yet, since then, nuclear security has improved only marginally, while the capabilities of some terrorist groups, particularly the Islamic State, have grown dramatically, suggesting that in the net, the risk of nuclear terrorism may be higher than it was two years ago..."

 

 

March 27, 2016

"Nuclear security: Continuous improvement or dangerous decline?"

Op-Ed, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, Martin B. Malin, Executive Director, Project on Managing the Atom, William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Nickolas Roth, Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

"World leaders face a stark choice at the final Nuclear Security Summit later this week: Will they commit to efforts that continue to improve security for nuclear weapons, fissile materials, and nuclear facilities, or will the 2016 summit be seen in retrospect as the point at which attention drifted elsewhere, and nuclear security stalled and began to decline? The answer will shape the chances that terrorist groups, including the Islamic State, could get their hands on the materials they need to build a crude nuclear bomb...."

 

 

AP

March 24, 2016

"The Islamic State is Training Fighters Faster Than We Are"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Islamic State attacks will continue until it is defeated. We are at war — at war with a ruthless, bloodthirsty, and capable enemy bent on inflicting as much carnage as possible on the United States and its allies. The president did not choose this war, but he must no longer shirk from it.

 

 

AP

March 23, 2016

"The All-Too-Human Reason Nuclear Material Isn’t Secure Enough"

Op-Ed, Defense One

By William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The security failures revealed by Sister Megan Rice at the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge, Tennessee were legion, rooted in complacency and poor training. We must have a culture committed to continuous improvement. If people are to create an excellent security culture, they must be trained and certified as competent.

 

 

March 21, 2016

Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Continuous Improvement or Dangerous Decline?

Report

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Martin B. Malin, Executive Director, Project on Managing the Atom and Nickolas Roth, Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

In this new report, Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Continuous Improvement or Dangerous Decline?, Matthew Bunn, Martin Malin, Nickolas Roth, and William Tobey provide a global reality check on nuclear security. They note that effective and sustainable nuclear security capable of addressing plausible threats is the single most effective chokepoint preventing terrorists from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

 

 

March 17, 2016

"Reviewing the Administration’s Nuclear Agenda"

Testimony

By William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Senior Fellow William Tobey testified on March 17, 2016, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on "Reviewing the Administration’s Nuclear Agenda."

 

 

AP

March 14, 2016

"The Qualities of Command"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The president of the United States has many responsibilities, but none is more important than Article Two of the Constitution’s charge that the president shall be commander in chief of our armed forces. Anyone who would demean a service member’s heroic pursuit of duty, or even contemplate issuing unlawful orders to commit war crimes and expect them to be obeyed (as Trump did when he threatened to attack the families of terrorists), is unfit for any rank in the U.S. military, let alone service as commander in chief.

 

 

AP

February 3, 2016

"Fresh Thinking on Highly Enriched Uranium Research Reactor Conversions"

Op-Ed, Nuclear Security Matters

By William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Through several programmatic evolutions, U.S. efforts to convert HEU research reactors and to repatriate fresh and spent fuel, have significantly advanced efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism.  Unavoidable technical and political factors have slowed this progress.  To maintain the program’s momentum, fresh thinking will be necessary and deserves support from the executive and legislative branches of government.

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.