James M. Acton

Nuclear Policy Program
Acton is co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment. A physicist by training, Acton specializes in nonproliferation, deterrence, and disarmament.


PhD, Theoretical Physics, Cambridge University




James M. Acton is co-director of  the Nuclear Policy Program and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment. A physicist by training, Acton specializes in deterrence, disarmament, nonproliferation, and nuclear energy. His current research focuses on the nuclear fuel cycle in Japan and hypersonic conventional weapons.

Acton’s publications span the field of nuclear policy. He is the author of two Adelphi books, Deterrence During Disarmament: Deep Nuclear Reductions and International Security and Abolishing Nuclear Weapons (with George Perkovich). He wrote, with Mark Hibbs, “Why Fukushima Was Preventable,” a groundbreaking study into the accident’s root causes. His analysis on proliferation threats, including Iran and North Korea, has been widely disseminated by major journals, newspapers, and websites.

Acton is a member of the Commission on Challenges to Deep Cuts and of the Nuclear Security Working Group. He is a former member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials and was co-chair of the Next Generation Working Group on U.S.-Russian arms control. He has provided evidence to the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters and the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.

Acton has published in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Survival, and the Washington Quarterly. He has appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, and PBS NewsHour.

  • International Institute for Strategic Studies March 14, 2011
    Deterrence During Disarmament: Deep Nuclear Reductions and International Security

    Although Russia, the United States, and American allies have been loath to downsize their nuclear arsenals, deep reductions would not undermine a nation’s security since arsenal size has little bearing on effectiveness of deterrence.

  • Abolishing Nuclear Weapons: A Debate
    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace February 13, 2009
    Abolishing Nuclear Weapons: A Debate

    A distinguished group of experts from thirteen countries explore how to overcome obstacles to nuclear disarmament and pose questions that require further official and nongovernmental deliberation.

  • Adelphi Paper September 16, 2008
    Abolishing Nuclear Weapons

    In this new Adelphi Paper published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), George Perkovich and James M. Acton examine the challenges that exist to abolishing nuclear weapons completely, and suggest what can be done now to start overcoming them.

  • Arms Control Wonk September 1, 2014 中文
    A Hypersonic Arms Race

    There is renewed interested in conventionally armed hypersonic weapons in both the United States and in China.

  • Bloomberg TV July 30, 2014
    Is There a New Cold War on the Horizon?

    The United States has accused Russia of violating a 1987 missile treaty.

  • NPR May 31, 2014
    A Weapon Without A Mission: U.S. Developing Boost-Glide Missile

    The U.S. military has been working on a weapon that could strike remote targets quickly, a development that risks triggering a new arms race with foreign adversaries.

  • Bloomberg TV February 18, 2014
    Negotiating With Iran: A Matter of Trust

    Reaching a final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program is going to require some very hard compromises from hardliners both in Tehran and in Washington.

  • Al Jazeera September 12, 2013
    U.S. Special Envoy Says Restarting Reactor Could Be Serious Move

    Satellite images show activity at Yongbyon nuclear complex in North Korea.

  • August 1, 2013
    Nuclear Enrichment Revolution Meets Weapon Fears

    An Australian nuclear physicist has developed a new enrichment process and been granted approval by U.S. regulators to develop it commercially, despite fears it could promote the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

  • CTV News April 16, 2013
    Will North Korea Strike?

    North Korea has issued new threats against South Korea and has demanded an apology for protests in the South.

  • Platts Energy Week April 12, 2013
    Ex-NRC Chief’s Remarks Over Nuclear Power Reactors

    The former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko, is back in the news with a story that’s causing a stir in the nuclear industry.

  • CTV News April 4, 2013
    North Korea Tensions

    Tensions with North Korea are rising as the United States strengthens its missile defense in response to threats.

  • Al Jazeera April 3, 2013
    Warning to North Korea

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has used strong words against North Korea after the country threatened to attack the United States.

Source: http://carnegieendowment.org/experts/index.cfm?fa=expert_view&expert_id=434

Areas of Expertise

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