Watch now: The Button Global Webinar

By , July 16, 2020

“Unlike all other instruments of war, nuclear weapons are the president’s weapon.” Two days before the 75th anniversary of Trinity, the first ever test of nuclear weapons, the Bulletin hosted a global webinar featuring William J. Perry, former US Secretary of Defense and Chair of the Bulletin Board of Sponsors; Tom Collina, Policy Director, Ploughshares Fund; and led by Kennette Benedict, Senior Advisor to the Bulletin.

Read more Bulletin coverage of nuclear risk, and listen in on all of our global teleconferences.


Tom Collina brings 30 years of Washington, DC experience in nuclear weapons, missile defense and nonproliferation issues to Ploughshares Fund. He has worked extensively as a researcher, analyst, and advocate to strengthen the efforts to end US nuclear testing, rationalize anti-missile programs, extend the Nonproliferation Treaty, and secure Senate ratification of the New START Treaty among others. Prior to joining Ploughshares Fund in 2014, Tom served as Research Director of the Arms Control Association.  He was the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Institute for Science and International Security and the Director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, among other leadership positions. He has published widely in major magazines and journals and has appeared frequently in the national media, including The New York Times, CNN, and NPR. Tom has a degree in International Relations from Cornell University.

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William J. Perry served as the U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering in the Carter administration and then as Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration. He oversaw the development of the strategic nuclear systems that are currently in our arsenal. His new offset strategy ushered in the age of stealth, smart weapons, GPS, and technologies that changed the face of modern warfare. In 2007, Dr. Perry collaborated with George Shultz, Sam Nunn, and Henry Kissinger to publish several ground-breaking editorials in the Wall Street Journal that linked the vision of a world free from nuclear weapons with urgent but practical steps that could be taken to reduce nuclear dangers. Perry’s 2015 memoir, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, is a personal account of his lifelong effort to reduce nuclear dangers. He founded the William J. Perry Project to educate the public on these dangers. In 2020 Perry co-authored THE BUTTON: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump. He is the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor (emeritus) at Stanford University. Perry is the father of five, grandfather of eight, and great-grandfather of four. He continues to travel the world in pursuit of his goal of reducing the threat from nuclear weapons. 

Kennette Benedict is a senior advisor to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientistsand served as Executive Director and Publisher from 2005 until she retired in February 2015.  She is a Lecturer at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Previously, Benedict was the Director of International Peace and Security at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, overseeing grant-making on a broad international security agenda, as well as supporting efforts to reduce the threat from weapons of mass destruction and an initiative on science, technology, and security. Benedict received her BA from Oberlin College and her PhD in political science from Stanford University. 

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Julius Mazzarella
Julius Mazzarella

Interesting discussion but if you don’t mind I would like to point out the threat as I see it. It is obvious that nuclear weapons if ever used accidental or otherwise can devaste humanity. For the past 70 plus years now and we keep reinventing the wheel outlining the dangers not only in the use of nuclear weapons but lost money used for weapons that could have been better spend for other problems such as global climate change and dwindling food production as for example. It is obvious that using nuclear weapons would be the end of our civilazation. The… Read more »