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Matthew Bunn

Mailing address

Littauer 339C
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
79 John F. Kennedy Street, Mailbox 53
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Downloadable CV

Matthew Bunn

Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom

Member of the Board

Contact:
Telephone: (617) 495-9916
Fax: 617-495-8963
Email: matthew_bunn@harvard.edu

 

Experience

Matthew Bunn is a Professor of Practice at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.  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 policies to promote innovation in energy technologies.

Before joining the Kennedy School in January 1997, he served for three years as an adviser to the Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he played a major role in U.S. policies related to the control and disposition of weapons-usable nuclear materials in the United States and the former Soviet Union, and directed a secret study for President Clinton on security for nuclear materials in Russia.  Previously, Bunn was at the National Academy of Sciences, where he directed the two-volume study Management and Disposition of Excess Weapons Plutonium.  He is the winner of the American Physical Society's Joseph A. Burton Forum Award for "outstanding contributions in helping to formulate policies to decrease the risks of theft of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials," and the Federation of American Scientists' Hans Bethe Award for "science in service to a more secure world," and is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.   He is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Arms Control Association and the Partnership for Global Security.

Bunn is the author or co-author of more than 20 books and book-length technical reports (most recently including Transforming U.S. Energy Innovation), and over a hundred articles in publications ranging from Science and Nuclear Technology to Foreign Policy and The Washington Post. He appears regularly on television and radio.

Bunn holds a doctorate in technology, management, and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is married to Jennifer Weeks; they have two daughters.

 

 

By Date

 

2014

April 4, 2014

"A Worst Practices Guide to Insider Threats: Lessons from Past Mistakes"

Occasional Paper

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom and Scott Sagan, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 1981-1982; Editorial Board Member, Quarterly Journal: International Security

Insider threats are perhaps the most serious challenges that nuclear security systems face. Insiders perpetrate a large fraction of thefts from heavily guarded non-nuclear facilities as well, yet organizations often find it difficult to understand and protect against insider threats. Why is this the case? Part of the answer is that there are deep organizational and cognitive biases that lead managers to downplay the threats insiders pose to their nuclear facilities and operations. But another part of the answer is that those managing nuclear security often have limited information about incidents that have happened in other countries or in other industries, and the lessons that might be learned from them.

 

 

March 24, 2014

Matthew Bunn Discusses 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on PBS NewsHour

News

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom

Harvard Kennedy School Professor of Practice Matthew Bunn was interviewed on PBS NewsHour about the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague and Japan’s announcement at the Summit that it will hand over to the United States its supplies of weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium on Monday, March 24, 2014.

 

 

March 18, 2014

Advancing Nuclear Security: Evaluating Progress and Setting New Goals

Report

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

In the lead-up to the nuclear security summit in The Hague, Advancing Nuclear Security: Evaluating Progress and Setting New Goals outlines what was accomplished in a four-year effort launched in 2009 to secure nuclear material around the globeand what remains to be done.

 

 

March 2014

Threat Perceptions and Drivers of Change in Nuclear Security Around the World: Results of a Survey

Report

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom and Eben Harrell, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Leaders at the 2010 nuclear security summit agreed on the goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear material in four years, but the factors that drive and/or constrain changes in nuclear security are not well understood. Matthew Bunn and Eben Harrell surveyed selected nuclear security professionals in countries with nuclear weapons, HEU, or separated plutonium, to explore this issue. This first-of-its-kind paper describes the survey, its results, and implications for strengthening global nuclear security.

 

 

NTI

February 11, 2014

"What Types of Nuclear Material Require What Levels of Security?"

Presentation

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom

In this presentation to an Institute for Nuclear Materiials Management workshop on risk-informing security, Matthew Bunn proposes a new approach to judging which materials would be easiest or more difficult for terrorists to use in a nuclear bomb, and hence which materials require more or less security.

 

2013

Dec 31, 2013

"A Nuclear Blind Alley for the U.S."

Op-Ed, Los Angeles Times

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom and Fred McGoldrick, Former Associate, Project on Managing the Atom, May 2011–June 2013

The world is rightly worried about Iran's uranium enrichment program. Iran claims this technology is for producing fuel for nuclear power plants, but it could be quickly shifted to making nuclear bomb material.

 

 

AP Images

November 27, 2013

"The Iran Deal – A Summary and Interpretation"

Op-Ed

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom

In all the fierce arguments over the pros and cons of the recent nuclear deal with Iran, a key element has mostly gotten lost: what does it actually say?  In this blogpost from the Belfer Center’s new Iran Matters website, Professor of Practice Matthew Bunn argues that this deal was never designed to do more than (a) stop each side from getting much worse off while negotiation of a broader deal continued, and (b) send a signal that meaningful agreements are possible, despite the enormous mistrust and hostility on both sides.  According to Bunn, it does both of those things pretty well – but it leaves a lot of heavy lifting for the future.

 

 

AP Images

November 25, 2013

"Why Netanyahu is Wrong About Iran Nuclear Deal"

Op-Ed, Christian Science Monitor

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom

Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu warns that the nuclear deal with Iran increases Iran’s chances of building nuclear weapons. In this Christian Science Monitor op-ed, Matthew Bunn argues that Prime Minister Netanyahu is exactly wrong. The first-stage nuclear deal with Iran will change the politics of the bomb in Tehran. With this deal in place, it will be much harder for Iranian hardliners to make the case that Iran should tear up its agreements and build a bomb.

 

 

Shari Nijman

Oct 7, 2013

"The Nuclear Terrorism Threat – And Next Steps to Reduce the Danger"

Presentation

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom and William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Matthew Bunn and Will Tobey spoke with Piet de Klerk, the Dutch Sherpa organizing the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, on October 7 at a United Nations event sponsored by the Dutch mission to the UN. In these slides, Bunn and Tobey provide an updated summary of the threat of nuclear terrorism and recommendations for next steps to reduce the threat, based in part on the new U.S.-Russian report, Steps to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism.

 

 

October 2, 2013

"Steps to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism"

Paper

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, Kuznetsov Valentin, Martin B. Malin, Executive Director, Project on Managing the Atom, Yuri Morozov, Simon Saradzhyan, Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Viktor I. Yesin and Pavel S. Zolotarev

The 2011 “U.S. - Russia Joint Threat Assessment” offered both specific conclusions about the nature of the threat and general observations about how it might be addressed. This report builds on that foundation and analyzes the existing framework for action, cites gaps and deficiencies, and makes specific recommendations for improvement.

 

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