James Acton holds the Jessica T. Mathews Chair and is co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. A physicist by training, Acton is currently writing a book on the nuclear escalation risks of advanced nonnuclear weapons and how to mitigate them. His work on this subject includes the International Security article “Escalation through Entanglement” and the Carnegie report, Is It a Nuke?.
An expert on hypersonic weapons and the author of the Carnegie report, Silver Bullet?, Acton has testified on this subject to the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee and the congressionally chartered U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He has also testified to the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on nuclear modernization.
Acton’s publications span the field of nuclear policy. They include the Carnegie report, Reimagining Nuclear Arms Control (with TD MacDonald and Pranay Vaddi), and two Adelphi books, Abolishing Nuclear Weapons (with George Perkovich) and Deterrence During Disarmament. With Mark Hibbs, he co-wrote Why Fukushima Was Preventable, a groundbreaking study into the root causes of the accident.
Acton is a member of the International Advisory Council for the Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe. He has published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Dædalus, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Science & Global Security, and Survival. He has appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, and PBS NewsHour.