News and Events

SSP extends its appreciation to The Carnegie Corporation of New York, which has awarded SSP a 36 month, $1 million, grant to support our research on the global “Diffusion of Power.” This will allow us to sustain and expand our work on Asian Security, Nuclear Arms Control and Strategy, Domestic Political Instability and Violence in the Greater Middle East, and U.S. Grand Strategy.

Barry Posen receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Barry PosenSSP Director Barry Posen has received a great honor: the 2017 Distinguished Scholar Award by the International Studies Association. He will be honored at a special panel at the ISA conference in Baltimore in February 2017.



George W. Rathjens, 90, Professor Emeritus of Political Science

George W. Rathjens, one of SSP's founders, passed away on Thursday, May 26, 2016. Prior to coming to MIT he had a distinguished career in government service including the Department of State and the Department of Defense. He is best known for his contributions to the theory and practice of nuclear arms control. As a trained scientist he was able to participate in policy discussions with a fundamental understanding of the weapons and technologies at issue. He was a major participant in the controversial debate in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the wisdom of deploying ballistic missile defenses. Among other achievements, he was the Secretary General of Pugwash (1998-2002), the international non-governmental organization dedicated to bringing 'scientific insight and reason to bear' on the risks posed by nuclear weapons. For many years he had been an active participant in that organization, which won the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize. He was also intensely interested in the principal international security problems of the 1990s—humanitarian intervention, sovereignty, and human rights, and under his leadership Pugwash took up these issues in a series of conferences. Professor Rathjens was held in deep affection by his graduate students and colleagues. George Rathjen's farewell speech to Pugwash, 2002. MIT News Office obituary

Maritime Awareness Project

The Maritime Awareness Project website that Taylor Fravel helped develop launched April 14, 2016. It is a collaborative project between the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA.

MIT Starr Forum: 3.11: Five Years After the Triple Disaster in Northeastern Japan

Richard J. Samuels was one of the speakers at this event on March 10, 2016, sponsored by the MIT Center for International Studies.


MIT Starr Forum: With Friends Like These: America's allies and the fight against ISIS

Barry Posen was the moderator of this event on February 25, 2016, co-sponsored by the MIT Center for International Studies and the Security Studies Program.


IAP 2016

Contemporary MilitaryTopics: SSP's military fellows led sessions on "Owning the Invisible: Electronic Warfare," "Identity Intelligence," "The USSC in Jerusalem," "The USMC and Special Operations Forces," and "Overview of the Navy's Newest Destroyer."

MIT Starr Forum on Religion & Violence

Stephen Van Evera spoke at a December 3, 2015 Starr Forum on Religion & Violence, sponsored by the Center for International Studies.

Special Seminar

On October 23, 2015, SSP held a special seminar on Capitol Hill titled "Political Struggles in the Middle East." A seminar summary is now available.


Sara Plana and Andy Halterman have been awarded NSF graduate research fellowships for 2016-2017.

Fiona Cunningham, Stephen Wittels, and Ketian Zhang are each recipients of 2016 World Politics Fellowship grants from the Smith Richardson Foundation.

Marika Landau-Wells' short story, Remote Operations, has won the Atlantic Council's creative writing contest, the "Art of Future Warfare" contest. more information

Vipin Narang is the 2016 recipient of the Best Book Award of the International Security Studies Section of the International Studies Association (ISA). Vipin won for his recent book, Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era.

Mark Bell and Amanda Rothschild have jointly won the International Studies Association's 2016 Patricia Weitsman Graduate Student Paper Award.

Reid Pauly has won the "Doreen & Jim McElvany Nonproliferation Challenge" run by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. His paper, "A Norm in All But Name: Paul Nitze, McGeorge Bundy, and the Idea of Nuclear Non-Use," is to be published in The Nonproliferation Review, and the award comes with a cash prize.

Cullen Nutt has been chosen as a semifinalist for the 2015 "Bobby R. Inman Award" for Student Scholarship on Intelligence from the University of Texas at Austin Strauss Center. more information

Noel Anderson and Alec Worsnop have each been awarded a dissertation fellowship from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.

Nicholas Miller has won two APSA awards: the 2015 Kenneth Waltz Dissertation Prize given by the International Security and Arms Control Section of the American Political Science Association, and the 2015 Helen Dwight Reid award, "awarded annually for the best dissertation successfully defended during the previous two years in the field of international relations, law, and politics."

Fotini Christia has been awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship. more information

Rachel Odell has been awarded a 2015 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Lena Andrews was honored as a 2015 Graduate Woman of Excellence by MIT's Office of the Dean of Graduate Education. more information

Professor Fotini Christia is a recipient of the 2015 SHASS Research Fund, to support exploratory research into political attitudes toward sectarian violence and United States foreign policy in southern Iraq.

MIT Senior Congressional and Executive Branch Staff Seminar-2015

The MIT Security Studies Program hosted its second Seminar for Senior Congressional and Executive Branch Staff titled “Renewal or Retrenchment: US Grand Strategy in a Volatile World.” The seminar was held April 8-10, 2015 and was a project of the Frankel (MIT) Global Policy Program Fund. more information

John Steinbruner, Ph.D, MIT Political Science 1968

John SteinbrunerJohn D. Steinbruner, MIT Political Science Ph.d., 1968, passed away on April 16, 2015. He was Professor of Public Policy at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Director of the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM), and Co-Chair of the Committee on International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work focused on issues of international security and related problems of international policy, especially the control of nuclear weapons. His theoretical and policy analytic work is fundamental to our understanding of the significant challenges of navigating nuclear weapons competitions and avoiding disaster. He authored and edited a number of professional books and monographs, including: The Cybernetic Theory of Decision: New Dimensions of Political Analysis (1974); Principles of Global Security (2000); A New Concept of Cooperative Security (co-author, 1992); and Managing Nuclear Operations (co-author,1987). Born in 1941 in Denver, Colorado, he received his A.B. from Stanford University in 1963.

Jack Ruina, 91, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering

Jack RuinaJack Ruina, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, MIT, passed away February 4, 2015. He was instrumental in establishing the MIT Security Studies Program and was its first Director. Prof. Ruina's special interest was in strategic nuclear weapons policy. During his long career, he served on many government committees, including a presidential appointment to the General Advisory Committee, 1969-1977, and acted as Senior Consultant to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, 1977-1980.  He also held the post of President of the Institute for Defense Analyses. At MIT, he has held the position of Vice President for Special Laboratories and was Secretary of the MIT Faculty. MIT News obituary Boston Globe obituary

IAP 2015

Contemporary Military Topics: SSP's 2014-2015 Military Fellows led sessions on the following topics: "Inside the White House Situation Room," "The Evolution of Aerial Bombing," "Lessons Learned in Leadership," "US Theater Security Cooperation in East Asia," and "The Art and Science of a Carrier Landing."

MIT Starr Forum on Grand Strategy

Barry Posen and Frank Gavin were speakers at a Starr Forum titled "Whither US Grand Strategy?" on October 9, 2014. more information

Book talk

Video of Barry Posen's book talk on Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy, June 12, 2014 at the Cato Institute, is now available. more information

SSP Faculty in the MIT Spotlight

MIT News article about Vipin Narang's SSP Central Asia Series talk: "After the U.S. leaves Afghanistan, then what?" February 19, 2014.

MIT News article about Francis Gavin: "In Major Extension of MIT Nuclear Policy Studies, Gavin Begins Work as First Frank Stanton Chair."

A Defense Concept for Ukraine

This paper was written by Professor Barry R. Posen twenty years ago. It was never published in English. Though the order of battle assumptions are no longer accurate, the basic architecture of the military problem remains. Those following events in Ukraine may find the analysis useful.

IAP 2014

Contemporary Military Topics: SSP's 2013-2014 Military Fellows led sessions on the following topics: "Mythbusters: The US Navy at the movies," "Future focus of the US Air Force," "Military Planning Process," and "Catch Me If You Can."

MIT Starr Forum on Syria

"Syria: A just war? Foreign policy experts weigh in" took place Wednesday, September 11, 2013. This event was co-sponsored by the Center for International Studies and the MIT Security Studies Program. MIT News Article

Starr Forum--Marathon Bombing: The Global Context

A Starr Forum titled "Marathon Bombing: The Global Context" took place May 1, 2013. Several SSP faculty and affiliates were among the speakers at this event, co-sponsored by SSP, the Center for International Studies, and MISTI Russia.


MIT Senior Congressional and Executive Branch Staff Seminar-2013

The MIT Security Studies Program hosted its first Seminar for Senior Congressional and Executive Branch Staff titled “National Security in a Time of Austerity.” The seminar was held April 3-5, 2013 and was a project of the Frankel (MIT) Global Policy Program Fund. more information


Barry Posen discussed his book, Restraint, at the Institute for World Politics on September 24, 2015. more information, including video

Barry Posen gave the Kenneth Walz Memorial Lecture at Columbia University October 30, 2014. The title: "Why American Restraint Makes Sense in a World Going to Hell."

MIT Global Health and Medical Humanities Initiative hosted its first event October 28, 2014. SSP's Jeanne Guillemin was one of the panelists. Link to recording on YouTube

Barry Posen took part in an event at Brookings on October 17, 2014 titled "U.S. Grand Strategy: World Leader or Restrained Power?"

Barry Posen spoke at The New Internationalism conference, produced by The American Conservative with The American Prospect and the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies at George Washington University on June 17, 2014. His topic: “The Case for Restraint”.