About the Project on Nuclear Issues

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PONI identifies and cultivates emerging thought leaders by building relationships, deepening understanding, and sharing perspectives across the full range of nuclear issues and communities. PONI’s programs provide inclusive, diverse, and creative opportunities for emerging experts to learn about policy, technical, and operational aspects of the nuclear enterprise, develop and present new concepts and ideas, engage in thoughtful and informed debates, and tour and visit sites across the nuclear enterprise. 

Programming and Initiatives 

  • Conference Series – provides a forum for rising young professionals to share their research. The conferences facilitate new and innovative thinking on evolving issues in nuclear security and international security for experts across the nuclear community to connect.  
  • Nuclear Scholars Initiative – convenes a group of select young professionals to participate in daylong workshops with senior government officials, policy experts, and technical experts in discussions on a range of nuclear security issues. Workshops also include interactive opportunities to engage on topics. Scholars are required to prepare a research product or ab blog post which is published on PONI platforms. 
  • Mid-Career Cadre – a select group of nuclear professionals that have been in the field for five to fifteen years and demonstrate promise for developing expertise and moving into leadership positions. Cadre members have the opportunity to attend international exchanges, deep dive workshops, senior expert discussions, participate in research workshops, and mentor young professionals in other PONI programming. 
  • Deep Dives – workshops bring together a diverse group of 20-30 participants to discuss key issues and to develop recommendations utilizing innovative and interdisciplinary approaches. The workshops are tacked on to our regional conferences. We plan to utilize these workshops as a regular Mid-Career Cadre programming opportunity to explore critical nuclear weapons and security related issues. 
  • Developing the Next Generation of Arms Control Negotiators Initiative – provides the opportunity to engage in discussions and skills development for arms control negotiations.  

Meet the Team

  • Rebecca Hersman
    Director
    Rebecca Hersman is the director of the Project on Nuclear Issues and senior adviser for the International Security Program. Ms. Hersman joined CSIS in April 2015 from the Department of Defense (DOD), where she served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for countering weapons of mass destruction (WMD) since 2009. In this capacity, she led DOD policy and strategy to prevent WMD proliferation and use, reduce and eliminate WMD risks and respond to WMD dangers.

    Ms. Hersman was a key leader on issues ranging from the nuclear security summit to the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons to the global health security agenda. She served as DOD’s principal policy advocate on issues pertaining to the Biological Weapons Convention, Chemical Weapons Convention, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.

    Prior to joining DOD, Ms. Hersman was a senior research fellow with the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction at the National Defense University from 1998 to 2009. Her primary projects focused on the role of DOD in mitigating the effects of chemical and biological weapons attack, concepts and strategies for eliminating an adversary’s WMD programs, as well as proliferation issues facing the United States. Ms. Hersman also founded and directed the WMD Center’s Program for Emerging Leaders, an initiative designed to shape and support the next generation of leaders from across the U.S. government with interest in countering weapons of mass destruction.

    Ms. Hersman previously held positions as an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a special assistant to the undersecretary of defense for policy, and a member of the House Armed Services Committee professional staff. She holds an M.A. in Arab studies from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Duke University.
  • Eric Brewer
    Deputy Director and Senior Fellow
    Eric Brewer is Deputy Director and Senior Fellow with the Project on Nuclear Issues at CSIS. Mr. Brewer has extensive experience working nuclear proliferation challenges in the U.S. government—with a particular focus on Iran and North Korea—including at the National Security Council and in the Intelligence Community.

    Prior to joining CSIS, Mr. Brewer served as a 2018-2019 Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. From 2017-2018, Mr. Brewer served as the Director for Counterproliferation at the National Security Council (NSC). In this capacity, he was responsible for coordinating U.S. policy to prevent and reverse the spread of nuclear weapons, their delivery systems, and related technologies, and he advised senior White House officials on these topics. While at the NSC, Mr. Brewer played a lead role developing and executing elements of U.S. North Korea policy. From 2014 to 2017, Mr. Brewer served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Proliferation at the National Intelligence Council. From 2008 to 2014, Mr. Brewer held several positions at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), including Senior Intelligence Analyst for Iran, and served as the agency’s lead expert on Iran’s nuclear intentions. Before joining DIA, Mr. Brewer worked at the National Nuclear Security Administration on export control and nuclear proliferation issues.

    Mr. Brewer is the author of several reports, including most recently “Toward a More Proliferated World? The Geopolitical Forces that Will Shape the Spread of Nuclear Weapons.” He has authored op-eds and articles in outlets such as The Washington Post, The Washington Quarterly, Foreign Affairs, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and The Atlantic. Mr. Brewer holds an MA in Security Policy Studies from The George Washington University, an MS in Strategic Intelligence from the National Defense Intelligence College, and a BA in International Relations from the University of San Diego.
  • Nicholas Adamopoulos
    Program Manager and Research Associate
    Nicholas Adamopoulos is a program manager and research associate with the Project on Nuclear Issues at CSIS. He holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in political science from Colgate University and a master’s degree in international affairs from The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. Prior to joining CSIS, he worked as an intern at the Arms Control Association, where he published several articles in Arms Control Today. His current research interests focus on international negotiation strategy and processes.
  • Suzanne Claeys
    Program Manager and Research Associate
    Suzanne Claeys is a program manager and research associate with the Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) at the Center for the Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) where she manages the CSIS European Trilateral Track 2 Nuclear Dialogues and research on the future of arms control in an era of strategic competition. She is a M.A. and nuclear policy certificate candidate at the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. Suzanne graduated Phi Beta Kappa from American University with a B.A. in international studies and Spanish studies.
  • Reja Younis
    Program Manager and Research Associate
    Reja Younis is the program manager and a research associate with the Project on Nuclear Issues in the International Security Program at CSIS. Prior to working at CSIS, she completed a year-long fellowship with The Stimson Center, where she conducted research on nuclear deterrence challenges, crisis dynamics, and great power competition in the context of South Asia. She has also worked as a research analyst for the Chicago Project on Political Violence and has served as an editorial writer and subeditor of the Opinion and Editorial section for the Tribune newspaper. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and liberal arts from the Institute of Business Administration Karachi and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Chicago.
  • Joseph Rodgers
    Program Manager & Research Associate
    Joseph Rodgers is a Program Manager with the Project on Nuclear Issues in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He is also a Ph.D. student in the biodefense program at George Mason University. Previously, he worked as a Graduate Research Assistant at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and interned with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. Joseph holds an M.A. in Nonproliferation and Terrorism from the Middlebury Institute for International Studies.
  • Genevieve Hackman
    Program Coordinator and Research Assistant
    Genevieve Hackman is a program coordinator and research assistant with the Project on Nuclear Issues in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.A. in Political Science and Statistics. Prior to joining CSIS, she was an intern at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation. Her current research interests include arms control with Russia and missile defense.

Career Opportunities

Development Team

The Next Generation Nuclear Network is a product of the Andreas C. Dracopoulos iDeas Lab, the in-house digital, multimedia, and design agency at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Produced by Bob Walker, Christina Hamm, Jacque Schrag, Kai Elwood-Dieu, Lindsay Urchyk, Serven Maraghi, and Tucker Harris.

About CSIS

Established in Washington, D.C. nearly 60 years ago, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to advancing practical ideas that address the world’s greatest challenges. CSIS is ranked the number one think tank in the United States by the University of Pennsylvania’s annual think tank report. To learn more about CSIS, visit www.csis.org.

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