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Politics’ Todd Sechser Receives Two-Year Carnegie Grant

Apr 18, 2016 |
Todd Sechser, Associate Professor of Politics

Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded Assoc. Prof. Todd Sechser a $500,000 grant for a project seeking to cultivate an international community of scholars to evaluate how the spread of cyber warfare capabilities, unmanned and autonomous weapons and other advanced technologies is shaping the nature of deterrence, coercion and stability around the world.

The two-year grant for the “Emerging Technologies and Strategic Stability” project will support meetings drawing together an international group of academics with technical experts from Silicon Valley, defense industry representatives, and government and military officials. The proposal by Sechser, who joined the Department of Politics in 2007, includes plans to hold meetings in Moscow and Beijing to engage local experts there and the publication of a book of commissioned papers detailing the technical parameter and strategic implications of new technologies.

“This research project deals with critical problem: how do we manage the risks posed by nuclear weapons in an era of rapid technological change?” Carnegie Corporation program officer Carl Robichaud said. “Professor Sechser has put together a top-notch team of experts that bridges international boundaries and academic disciplines. Their work is a rare combination of rigorous, empirically grounded research that is also highly relevant to decision makers.”    

The Carnegie-funded project is a spinoff of a current award that Sechser received from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for a project on the coercive effects of advanced weaponry. That project was launched with assistance from a seed grant from the University of Virginia’s Quantitative Collaborative, an initiative that aims to marry quantitative research and the social sciences and use the data to shape public policy at the highest levels.

Sechser has written widely about nuclear weapons, deterrence, and coercion in international relations. He was recently a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, in Washington, D.C. He is also coauthor of the book Nuclear Weapons and Coercive Diplomacy, forthcoming this summer from Cambridge University Press.