David Wright

Physicist & co-director, Global Security

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David Wright is a physicist and the co-director of the Global Security Program. He is a nationally known expert on the technical aspects of missile defense systems, missile proliferation, and space weapons. See David's full bio.David also blogs on All Things Nuclear.

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David's Latest Posts

Hair-Trigger Alert Doesn’t Make Sense. Here’s Why

In talking with a young colleague recently, I realized he had no idea the U.S. and Russia keep thousands of nuclear weapons on alert, poised to launch 24 hours a day, every day. Luckily we have a video just for him… Read more >

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The Case for Ending Hair-Trigger Alert: New UCS Report

Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, the United States and Russia continue to keep nearly 2,000 nuclear weapons constantly on high alert, ready to be launched in minutes. This is commonly called “hair-trigger alert.”

I’ve written several blog posts highlighting false alarms in the past decades that brought us uncomfortably close to a nuclear launch. These were due to technical glitches and human errors, but it was hair-trigger alert that set up the conditions for those glitches and errors to lead to disaster. Read more >

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Santa, Mistakes, and Nuclear War

On December 1, the U.S. military started its annual tracking of Santa’s flight from the North Pole.

Really. Read more >

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A Nuclear False Alarm that Looked Exactly Like the Real Thing

On this day in 1979, operators at the U.S. missile warning center were shocked to see their displays light up with the ultimate horror: a full-scale Soviet  nuclear attack bearing down on the United States. Unlike previous false warnings the operators had experienced, there was no mistaking the signatures of an all-out nuclear attack designed to destroy nuclear command centers, U.S. nuclear-armed bombers, and land-based missiles. Read more >

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Six Close Calls During the Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis played out in the second half of October 1962. People generally know that it brought the world close to nuclear war but that in the end U.S. and Soviet leaders kept their heads and the world pulled through.

I remember as a young boy watching President Kennedy’s October 22 speech on our black and white TV set. I could tell from my parents’ reaction that things were bad. And essentially everything I’ve learned about the crisis since then has made me realize it was scarier than any of us realized. Read more >

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