The Public Policy and Nuclear Threats Training Program

The Public Policy and Nuclear Threats (PPNT) program is designed to cover important issues in US nuclear strategy and policy, supported by an understanding of the scientific foundations of this policy. It consists of an intensive summer boot camp and a network of more than 180 past PPNT fellows, nuclear policy experts, lab personnel, and others interested in the global issues surrounding nuclear policy.

PPNT continues to bridge gaps in the knowledge and modes of thinking of social scientists, policy analysts, physical scientists, and engineers by bringing them under one roof to work together and forge long-term personal and professional ties. The current program is open to all graduate students and professionals interested in studying important issues in nuclear policy and gaining an understanding of the scientific foundations that inform them.

The Summer "Boot Camp"

The summer workshop-in-residence at UC San Diego, known as the PPNT boot camp, aims to give participants the knowledge and analytic tools to contribute to the debate on future US nuclear policy. 

Information on past boot camps

History

"Public Policy and Nuclear Threats: Training the Next Generation" started as a PhD training program for students throughout the UC system, funded through NSF's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training program. 

The program was designed to encourage UC PhD students to study public policy and technology issues related to nuclear weapons, re-engage UC departments in research on the same, foster the interests of current students and enable the recruitment of additional top students, and promote cooperation between the campuses and the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories. Professor Susan Shirk, IGCC director at the time, served as principal investigator, and the program was housed at IGCC’s main office at UC San Diego.

The first summer workshop-in-residence at UC San Diego, known familiarly as the PPNT boot camp, was held in 2003. Nuclear physicist and IGCC founding director Herbert F. York was among the distinguished roster of speakers. Two cohorts of IGERT PPNT fellows and associates participated in the summer training, policy events, and an associated annual student-run conference, forming the nucleus of network of young nuclear policy experts from across the University of California.

After the initial NSF funding ended, IGCC leaders in 2007 opened the summer program to a wider audience, including junior faculty, technical staff from LLNL and LANL, and policy practitioners. IGCC drew on the expertise of its growing network by inviting past PPNT fellows to return as speakers and discussion leaders. PPNT alumnus Robert Brown (2003) served as leader for the 2009‒2011 programs, and Neil Narang (2007) served in the same role in 2012 and 2013. Since 2014, PPNT alumna Bethany Goldblum (2004) has served as the program’s director.

In 2009 Ambassador Linton Brooks joined the team as consultant and expert in residence during the boot camp.

In 2011 IGCC became part of the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium housed in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at UC Berkeley under the leadership of Professor Jasmina Vujic. The consortium’s mission to train undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of nuclear physics, nuclear and radiation chemistry, nuclear engineering, nuclear instrumentation, and public policy has been supported by IGCC through the summer boot camp and administration of a number of awards for nuclear policy-related faculty and student research.

The Winter Conference

Typically held at the UC Washington Center, the annual conference was planned by the PPNT alumnae network. It provided an opportunity for researchers and practitioners in the early stages of their careers to present to a policy audience and to receive feedback both from their peers and from senior members of the nuclear security community.
 
Conference themes have ranged from how to manage the nuclear stockpile, exploration of an international nuclear forensics regime as a model for cooperative deterrence, the denuclearization of North Korea, and the state of the world's nuclear infrastructure in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
 
Personnel from the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories served as advisors in the planning of the PPNT winter conference, and LLNL has hosted several IGCC meetings on nuclear policy issues.

Activities

2013 Winter Conference
March 22–23, 2013
Washington, DC
Agenda
Speakers
 
Reducing the Risk from Radioactive and Nuclear Materials
2012 PPNT Winter Conference
February 6–7, 2012
Washington, DC
Agenda
Speakers
Conference summary
 
The Scaled-Back Face of Tomorrow's Nuclear Infrastructure
2011 PPNT Winter Conference
March 24–26, 2011
Washington, DC
Agenda
 
2010 PPNT Winter Conference
April 9–10, 2010
Washington, DC
Agenda
 
Consequences of the Nuclear Age
2009 PPNT Winter Conference
February 19–21, 2009
Washington, DC
Agenda
 
Nonproliferation and the Nuclear Renaissance
2008 PPNT Winter Conference
February 28–29, 2008
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Agenda
 
A Novel Means for Deterring Nuclear Terrorism: The Case of DPRK
2007 PPNT Winter Seminar
February 1–2, 2007
Washington, DC
Overview
Agenda
Speakers
 
Denuclearizing North Korea: Moving Beyond the 1994 Agreed Framework
2006 PPNT Winter Seminar
February 2–4, 2006
Los Angeles, CA
Overview
Agenda
Working Groups
 
Nuclear Security in an Uncertain World
2005 PPNT Winter Seminar
January 26–28, 2005
Berkeley, CA
Overview and Abstracts
Speakers

The Nuclear Security Policy Series

In conjunction with the PPNT program, IGCC held a series of five policy-related meetings in Washington, D.C. The series was funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. 

IGCC selected speakers for the nuclear security briefing series from both the diverse pool of PPNT participants and speakers and the broader network of collaborators and other researchers who are analyzing the new nuclear security terrain, including the complex linkages between US strategic weapons policies, safeguards and nonproliferation, and counter-terrorism, as well as the connections between conventional and strategic capabilities.

Activities

IAEA Governance and Reform
February 24, 2012
Washington, D.C.
Agenda
Presentation 1: Talking Peace, Making Weapons: IAEA Technical Cooperation and Nuclear Proliferation
Presentation 2: Strategic and Technical Implementation Challenges of Advancing Front-End IAEA Safeguards
Presentation 3: Unleashing the Nuclear Watchdog: Strengthening and Reform of the IAEA
Presentation 4: Controlling the 'Absolute Weapon': International Governance Authority of the IAEA
 
The Politics of Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century: Policy Implications of the "New Wave" of Nuclear Proliferation Research
December 15–16, 2011
Washington, D.C.
Agenda
 
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) Entry-Into-Force Issues
September 16, 2011
Washington, D.C.
Agenda
Presentation: CTBT Entry into Force Taken Hostage by Regional Conflicts
 
The Scaled-Back Face of Tomorrow's Nuclear Infrastructure
2011 PPNT Winter Conference
March 24–26, 2011
Washington, D.C.
Agenda
Presentation 1: Conventional Counterforce Strike and Damage Limitation
Presentation 2: North Korea’s Strategy in Shorter Range vs. Long Range Ballistic Missiles
Presentation 3: Civil Nuclear Cooperation: Public-Private Safety Information Sharing in New and Retrofitted Plants
Presentation 4: Why Do States Agree (or not) to Intrusive Verification? The Case of the INF Treaty
Presentation 5: Confidence Levels of the New START Treaty
 
U.S. Nuclear Posture: Credibility, Deterrence, and Disarmament
January 21, 2011
Washington, D.C.
Agenda