CMC Seminar Series

Rethinking Nuclear Deterrence

August 3, 2023  | Dr. Matthew Bunn discussed rethinking nuclear deterrence in the context of a multipolar nuclear world, the fever pitch of hostility between nuclear-armed states, and new technologies from hypersonic missiles to artificial intelligence. Dr. Bunn is the James R. Schlesinger Professor of the Practice of Energy, National Security, and Foreign Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.


Human Performance Considerations for Nuclear Operations and Inspections

August 3, 2023  | CMC Visiting Research Scholar Stephanie Pavão discussed the importance of human performance analysis to nuclear operations and inspections—particularly cross-cutting issues in nuclear safety and international safeguards. Pavão is a graduate student at the University of Sao Paolo’s Energy and Nuclear Research Institute and current recipient of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Pavão’s slide presentation can be viewed here.


Negotiating Uncertainty into the Making of the Global Nuclear Order

May 22, 2023 | Dr. J. Luis Rodriguez, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), discussed the politics of imprecision in security-related international treaties. Dr. Rodriguez addressed why states choose to obfuscate the definitions of the object they set out to limit through international law, for example the lack of a definition for "nuclear weapon" in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.


Advancing U.S.-India R&D and Technology Cooperation

May 16, 2023 | Dr. Sameer Lalwani, a senior expert on South Asia at the U.S. Institute of Peace, discussed what he terms a "natural" U.S.-India partnership with regard to technology research and development. While India has expertise in critical and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, autonomy, and biotechnology, the country could benefit from U.S.–likely private sector–investment to fully harness its technological potential.


The Nuclear Security Landscape and the NNSA Mission Space

April 17, 2023 | Monte Mallin, the Deputy Director of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, discussed the NNSA mission space with regard to the nuclear security landscape. In his current role, Mallin helps to oversee the implementation of enterprise-wide strategic planning, governance, and internal NNSA directives.


A Framework for Strategic Stability

April 6, 2023 | Dr. Jasen Castillo, Associate Professor of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University and Co-Director of the Albritton Center for Grand Strategy, discussed a framework for strategic stability.


Advancing Norms of Nuclear Responsibility Amidst a Shifting Nuclear Landscape

November 17, 2022 |  landscape of the global nuclear order as it pertains to regional security dynamics and states’ policies concerning the governance of advanced nuclear technologies and nuclear weapons. He is Co-Director and a Senior Fellow of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Prior to joining the Carnegie Endowment, he served as a senior policy advisor at the National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Nonproliferation and International Security and was posted as Energy Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.


China’s Global Role, Bureaucracy, and Perspectives on the United States

October 26, 2022 |  Charlie Bergman discussed China’s global role, its bureaucracy, and its perspectives on the United States. Bergman currently works on special projects at St. John’s College, following a
five-year directorship of its Office of Personal and Professional Development. Bergman’s extensive experience with Chinese bureaucracy and culture began during the 1980s when—as an IBM professional—he served on a start-up team tasked with founding a China subsidiary in Beijing. Bergman also directed Meridian Resources Associates’ (now Aperian Global)
Asia-Pacific region to assist clients beginning or expanding operations in China.


Arctic Security Overview

September 14, 2022 |  Jen Evans provided an overview of the Arctic’s existing security environment including governance structures, state and nonstate stakeholders, ongoing international disputes, and climate change impacts on the strategic value of Arctic resources and territories. Evans is a PhD candidate at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies and a research associate at the Arctic Institute Center for Circumpolar Security Studies in Washington, D.C.


Biosafety and Biosecurity Initiatives in the MENA Region

September 1, 2022 |  Dr. Nisreen AL-Hmoud, Director of the Biosafety and Biosecurity Centre at the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan, discussed the impact of initiatives to build biosafety and biosecurity capacity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Dr. AL-Hmoud detailed the impacts, over the last decade, on scientists at local and regional levels and highlighted training gaps that require further development.


photo - Dr. Peter Cowhey

A Discussion on US-China Collaboration and Competition in Science and Technology Policy

February 17, 2022 | Dr. Peter Cowhey chairs the Working Group on U.S.-China Science and Technology Relations, organized by the UC San Diego 21st Century China Center, and served as a lead author for the “Meeting the China Challenge: A New American Strategy for Technology Competition” report, published in November 2020. He is Dean and Qualcomm Chair Emeritus of the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego where he served as dean from 2002 to 2021.

Previously, he served as the chief of the International Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and negotiated US international agreements for telecommunications and satellite services. Dr. Cowhey is an expert on the future of communications and information technology markets and policy, specializing in U.S. trade and foreign policy.


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The Future of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in Turkey

December 16, 2021 | A US/Turkey Dialogue Moderated by Sandia National Laboratories hosts a roundtable discussion between Turkish and American experts about the Future of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in Turkey. They discuss SMRs’ implications for Turkey’s energy independence, climate change mitigation, and safety, security, and nonproliferation. Turkish experts include Dr. Şule Ergün of Hacettepe University, Prof. Dr. Üner Çolak of Istanbul Technical University, and Dr. Senem Şentürk Lüle of Istanbul Technical University. American experts include Adam Williams and Alan Evans from Sandia National Laboratories and Nick Roth who at the time of the event was director of the National Security Program at the Stimson Center.

A recording of this dialogue can be reviewed here


Mr. Tong Zhao

A discussion of China’s perspective on arms control verification (12/7)

December 7, 2021 | CMC Visiting Research Scholar Tong Zhao discusses China’s perspective on arms control verification as part of a CMC Speaker Series event.


Ms. Maheen Shafeeq

Cybersecurity Culture at Nuclear Facilities

November 16, 2021 | CMC Visiting Research Scholar Maheen Shafeeq presents her research on Cybersecurity Culture at Nuclear Facilities and discusses cybersecurity risk at nuclear facilities, the relationship between international, state, facility, and individual cybersecurity culture, and the relationship between humans, physical security, and cyber networks.

A recording of this seminar can be viewed online.


Dr. Sitakanta Mishra

An Update on India’s Nuclear Security and Governance

October 20, 2021 |  Dr. Sitakanta Mishra, former CMC Visiting Research Scholar and Associate Professor of International Relations in the School of Liberal Studies of Pandit Deendayal Energy University, and Happymon Jacob, Associate Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, both noted regional scholars and authors, will discuss India’s current nuclear security posture.


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CMC Global Climate Security Symposium

October 6, 2021 | 

Average global temperatures have increased 1.2 degrees Celsius since 1880, resulting in a climate crisis that has caused widespread impact to global ecosystems, human health and wellbeing, and national and international security. U.S. President Joe Biden has repeatedly emphasized combatting climate change as a top priority for the administration, describing climate change as both an “existential threat” facing the international community and an “opportunity” to create new jobs in innovative sectors. The climate crisis is also an increasingly prominent issue on the world stage. More than 40 world leaders participated in the Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate in April of this year, with participant countries advancing pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, achieve carbon neutrality, and reduce deforestation to prevent further planetary warming.

On October 6, 2021, the Cooperative Monitoring Center (CMC) at Sandia National Laboratories will present a virtual Global Climate Security Symposium, providing an opportunity for a wide and diverse global audience to learn from and engage with regional experts and top U.S. policymakers on climate security. The online event will promote regional dialogue on regional challenges and opportunities presented by climate change. Further, the Global Climate Security Symposium will seek to identify potential scientific and technological collaboration opportunities with the United States, as well as specific areas of contribution for Sandia National Laboratories and the CMC.

The symposium will begin with two regional panels featuring technical and policy experts from East Asia and South Asia. Moderated by the CMC’s regional leads, the panelists will discuss key regional climate security dynamics and challenges, current efforts to address them, and potential scientific and technological collaboration opportunities with the United States. Following the panels, Special Assistant to the President Biden and National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for Climate and Energy Melanie Nakagawa will provide a keynote address.


Fadime Ozge Ozkan

Best Practices for Nuclear Security of Spent Nuclear Fuel and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management

September 30, 2021 |  CMC Visiting Research Scholar Fadime Özge Özkan currently serves as a research assistant in the Nuclear Research Division of the Energy Institute at Istanbul Technical University, where she is also pursuing her Ph.D. Ms. Özkan did her undergraduate work in nuclear engineering at Hacettepe University and received her master’s in nuclear engineering from the Energy Institute at the Istanbul Technical University. 


Dr. Peter Hotchkiss

Science at the OPCW – There’s Always Room for More

April 28, 2021 | Peter Hotchkiss, Senior Science Policy Officer at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), discusses current scientific themes and the role that science plays at the Organisation as part of the CMC Seminar Series’ in-depth look at chemical and biological security issues affecting the U.S. and our global partners in a post-COVID-19 world.


Dr. Gerald Epstein

Biodefense and the Return to Great Power Competition

April 13, 2021 | As part of the CMC Seminar Series’ in-depth look at biological and chemical security issues affecting the U.S. and our global partners in a post- COVID-19 world, the CMC hosts Dr. Gerald Epstein, a Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University (NDU) Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Dr. Epstein addresses challenges posed by nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, particularly including the security implications of advanced life sciences, biotechnologies, and other emerging and converging technologies.

A recording of Dr. Epstein’s seminar can be viewed here.


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Cooperative Border Security in South Asia

March 31, 2021 | A densely populous region with porous borders, recurring interstate crises, three growing nuclear weapon programs, and expansive regional connectivity projects, South Asia is critical to global considerations of border security. Panelists will discuss the regional threat landscape: major threat actors; key official stakeholders for interdiction; land/maritime/air pathways for illicit movement; existing cooperation among regional and international stakeholders; prospects for cooperative security; and potential roles for emerging technologies.

Securing borders from illicit movement of conventional munitions, narcotics, human labor, sensitive radiological and nuclear materials, and (dual use) technologies presents a key transnational challenge in the 21st century. State efforts to understand threat actors, pathways for illicit movement, and the efficacy of countermeasures may benefit from information sharing and a cooperative approach to securing borders. A densely populous region with porous borders, recurring interstate crises, three growing nuclear weapon programs, and expansive regional connectivity projects, South Asia is critical to global considerations of border security. Panelists will discuss the regional threat landscape: major threat actors; key official stakeholders for interdiction; land/maritime/air pathways for illicit movement; existing cooperation among regional and international stakeholders; prospects for cooperative security; and potential roles for emerging technologies.


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Emerging Technologies & Strategic Stability in Southern Asia

March 24, 2021 | This Sandia CMC panel discussion covers the evolving crisis onset and escalation risks enabled by emerging technologies and military capabilities to assess their implications for strategic stability in the region. Technologies and capabilities under consideration include globally new developments, such as capabilities enabled by artificial intelligence, as well as those that may not be new globally but are being deployed by new actors in the region.

A recording of this seminar can be viewed here.

Future interstate crises in Southern Asia and the Indo-Pacific will be defined by multipolarity, asymmetric warfighting capabilities in overlapping and evolving domains, blurry “red lines”, and nuclear competition. Developments in power-projection by key nuclear-armed stakeholders in the region may create new escalation risks alongside opportunities for cooperative security and risk reduction. This Sandia CMC panel discussion will cover the evolving crisis onset and escalation risks enabled by emerging technologies and military capabilities to assess their implications for strategic stability in the region. Technologies and capabilities under consideration include globally new developments, such as capabilities enabled by artificial intelligence, as well as those that may not be new globally but are being deployed by new actors in the region.


Dr Rajeswari Rajagopalan

India in the Evolving Space Security Domain (with panel discussion)

March 11, 2021 | Dr. Rajeswari Rajagopalan, a leading Indian expert on space security, will discuss India’s evolving approach to space and its strategy to address the domain’s changing security dynamics. Ankit Panda from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Aaron Bateman from Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Nancy Hayden of Sandia National Laboratories will serve on a panel moderated by the CMC’s South Asia program lead, Hannah Haegeland. This is the first of a three-seminar series focused on strategic stability and cooperative security in South Asia. 

A recording of this seminar can be viewed here.

Once an exclusive domain, today an increasingly diverse group of stakeholders utilizes outer space. Current and aspirant space-faring states pursue capabilities that enhance security, economic growth, and quality of life in an environment characterized by heightened competition. The CMC is hosting Dr. Raji Rajagopalan, a leading Indian expert on space security, to discuss India’s evolving approach to outer space and its strategy to address the domain’s changing security dynamics. Ankit Panda from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Aaron Bateman from Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Nancy Hayden of Sandia National Laboratories will serve on a panel moderated by the CMC’s South Asia program lead, Hannah Haegeland. The panel will respond to Dr. Rajagopalan’s remarks and discuss Indian and U.S. perspectives on the future of space security, space competition amongst Indo-Pacific countries, implications for interstate crisis signaling and escalation, and the prospects for advancing international space norms that promote strategic stability and cooperative security.


Mr. Kristóf Horváth

IAEA Nuclear Security Programme

March 4, 2021 | Kristóf Horváth, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Nuclear Material Security Unit, previously served as the IAEA Senior Nuclear Security Officer responsible for International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) missions, regulation development, threat assessment, design basis threat, and nuclear security culture related issues, and is the former Deputy Chairman of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority. Mr. Horváth holds an MSc in Nuclear Engineering and a PhD in Military Engineering.

A recording of this seminar can be viewed here.


Ms. Zoe Gastelum

A Day in the Life of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards Analyst

February 25, 2021 | Zoe Gastelum is Acting Manager of the International Safeguards & Engagements Department at Sandia National Laboratories, where she leads research and development efforts on advanced data analytics and human-algorithm performance in support of international safeguards verification. Prior to joining Sandia in 2015, Zoe worked as a safeguards research scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and as an open source information analyst for the IAEA Department of Safeguards.

A recording of this seminar can be viewed here.


Mr. Steve Amundsen

Recruiter, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

February 17, 2021 | What is it like to work at the world’s foremost intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the nuclear field? The Cooperative Monitoring Center (CMC) Seminar Series welcomes Steve Amundsen, recruiter for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who will discuss careers and job opportunities at the IAEA.

A recording of Mr. Amundsen’s seminar can be viewed here.


Ms. Jenni Rissanen

Leader of Strategic Planning for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Department of Safeguards

February 9, 2021 | The CMC welcomes Jenni Rissanen, leader of strategic planning for the IAEA Department of Safeguards, the group responsible for nuclear verification activities for more than 180 Member States. Since 2007, Ms. Rissanen has been closely involved in conceptual work, including the development and implementation of the State-level concept for safeguards; advancing strategic foresight and planning; enhancing communication and engagement with Member States, NPT policymakers, and other stakeholders; and establishing partnerships.

A recording of Ms. Rissanen’s seminar can be viewed here.


Mr. Robert Kelley

Disarmament of Nuclear States: Applicability to Future Denuclearization of DPRK

February 2, 2021 | Mr. Robert Kelley discusses his experience as an international disarmament inspector in South Africa, Iraq, and Libya. With more than 35 years of experience in the U.S. Department of Energy nuclear weapons complex, Robert Kelley started his career in research and engineering before turning to information analysis in the 1980s. He managed the centrifuge and plutonium metallurgy programs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and later was Director of the Department of Energy Remote Sensing Laboratory, the premier U.S. nuclear emergency response organization. Robert directed nuclear inspections in Iraq in 1992 and 2001 for the IAEA, and has worked in more than 20 countries.


Major General Randy Church Kee

Discussion of Current and Future Arctic Security Mission Requirements

January 21, 2021 | Major General Randy "Church" Kee, USAF (ret.), currently serves as Executive Director of the Arctic Domain Awareness Center (ADAC) at the University of Alaska and as US Arctic Research Commissioner. In his current position, General Kee leads a distributed team of Arctic-focused science and technology, education and student field programs, and convening activities of knowledgeable Arctic researchers, policy makers, Alaska Native Leaders and maritime operators.


Dr David Santoro

Pacific Forum: Finding a Better Way

December 3, 2020 | Dr. David Santoro is Vice President and Director for Nuclear Policy at the Honolulu-based Pacific Forum, a foreign policy think tank. He specializes in strategic and deterrence issues as well as nonproliferation and nuclear security, focusing mostly on Asia. He is involved in many of Pacific Forum’s track-2 and track-1.5 forums, and his current research interests focus on great-power competition and the role of China in an era of nuclear multipolarity. Dr. Santoro’s forthcoming edited volume “U.S.-China Nuclear Relations – The Impact of Strategic Triangles” will be published in the spring of 2021.

A recording of Dr. Santoro’s seminar can be viewed here.


Dr Ghena Alhanaee

Interdependency of the Water-Oil-Nuclear Industries in the Persian/Arabian Gulf: Understanding Risk and Improving Prevention and Preparation of Disasters

November 4, 2020 | Dr. Ghena Alhanaee highlights her work to develop a data-driven framework to help the Persian/Arabian Gulf region better mitigate the risks of an oil spill or nuclear accident. Dr. Alhanaee received her PhD from the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California in Summer 2020. She has presented her research, which focuses on environmental sustainability, energy resources, and water and food security in the Persian/Arabian Gulf, at international venues in North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

A recording of Dr. Alhanaee’s seminar can be viewed here.


Al-Sharif Nasser Bin Nasser

The Middle East Scientific Institute for Security’s Activities and Approach to Regional Capacity Building in the Mideast

September 30, 2020 | Managing Director of the Middle East Scientific Institute for Security (MESIS), Al-Sharif Nasser Bin Nasser will speak on building sustainable capacity in the Middle East. This discussion will be a general overview of MESIS activities and their approach to capacity building in the region. Mr. Bin Nasser was the first speaker in the CMC’s Seminar Series, celebrating the past and future of collaborative scientific engagements.