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

Nuclear Weapons and the Myth of the “Re-Alerting Race”

One of the frustrations of trying to change policy is that frequently repeated myths can short-circuit careful thinking about current policies and keep policy makers from recognizing better alternatives.

That is particularly frustrating—and dangerous—when the topic is nuclear weapons. Read more >

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How Could a Failed Computer Chip Lead to Nuclear War?

The US early warning system is on watch 24/7, looking for signs of a nuclear missile launched at the United States. As a highly complex system with links to sensors around the globe and in space, it relies heavily on computers to do its job. So, what happens if there is a glitch in the computers?

Between November 1979 and June 1980, those computers led to several false warnings of all-out nuclear attack by the Soviet Union—and a heart-stopping middle-of-the-night telephone call. Read more >

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Science, Religion, and Obama’s Mixed Legacy on Nuclear Weapons

Giving another speech on nuclear weapons is not enough. Read more >

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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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