Sharon K. Weiner is a visiting researcher from American University where she is an Associate Professor of International Relations in the School of International Service. A 2018 Carnegie Fellow, she is also the recipient of a Nuclear Challenge Grant from the MacArthur Foundation (2015-2016) and a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship in Nuclear Security (2014-2015). Her book Our Own Worst Enemy? Institutional Interests and the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Expertise (MIT Press, 2011) was the winner of the 2012 Louis Brownlow award from the National Academy of Public Administration. She also is the author of the book Managing the Military: The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Civil-Military Relations (Columbia University Press, 2022). Sharon has worked in both houses of Congress, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff Strategic Plans and Policy directorate, and as a program examiner with the National Security Division at the White House Office of Management and Budget. She holds a PhD in Political Science from MIT.

Research Interests


Sharon's current research focuses on the evolution of nuclear deterrence in the United States and seeks to understand the political, institutional, and societal concerns that underlies U.S. nuclear weapons policy. A related project uses a Virtual Reality experience to better understand how policy makers are likely to make decisions about the use of nuclear weapons.



Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, 2018-2020

Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship in Nuclear Security, 2014-2015

Louis Brownlow Book Award, National Academy of Public Administration, 2012

Visiting Scholar, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2005-2006

Lifton Fellowship for Teaching Nuclear Weapons Issues, 2004-2005

Scholar of Vision Award, Carnegie Corporation of New York, 2001-2003


S. K. Weiner, The Ethics of Choosing Deterrence, Ethics & International Affairs, 37 (1), April 2023.

S. K. Weiner, The Biden Nuclear Posture Review: Resetting the Requirements for Nuclear Deterrence, Arms Control Today, January/February 2022.

S. K. Weiner, Prepared Testimony, US Senate Armed Services Committee, Strategic Forces Subcommittee, June 16, 2021.

Bruce G. Blair, Sebastien Philippe and S.K. Weiner, Right of Launch: Command and Control Vulnerabilities After a Limited Nuclear Strike, War on the Rocks, November 20, 2020.

S. K. Weiner, Reconsidering U.S. Plutonium Pit Production Plans, Arms Control Today, June 2020.

S. K. Weiner and Frank von Hippel, No Rush to Enrich: Alternatives for Providing Uranium for National Security NeedsArms Control Today, July/August 2019.

S. K. Weiner, Military Advice for Political Purpose, in G. Adams and S. Murray (eds.), Mission Creep: The Militarization of U.S. Foreign Policy?, Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC, 2014.

S. K. Weiner, Retooling Efforts to Stop the Proliferation of WMD ExpertiseArms Control Today, December 2011.

S. K. Weiner, Who’s a Weapons Scientist?, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November 16, 2011.

S. K. Weiner, Our Own Worst Enemy? Institutions, Interests, and the Proliferation of WMD Expertise, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2011.

S. K. Weiner, Organizational Interests Versus Battlefield Needs: The U.S. Military and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles in Iraq, Polity, 42, Fall 2010 Fall.

S. K. Weiner, Organizational Interest, Nuclear Weapons Scientists and Nonproliferation, Political Science Quarterly, 124 (4), Winter 2009-2010.

S. K. Weiner, The Evolution of Cooperative Threat Reduction: Progress, Problems, and Issues for the Future, Nonproliferation Review, 16 (2) July 2009.

S. K. Weiner, Looking out, Looking in: Competing Organizational Interests & The Proliferation of Soviet WMD ExpertiseDaedalus, Spring 2009.

S. K. Weiner, Reconsidering Cooperative Threat Reduction: Russian Nuclear Weapons Scientists and Non-Proliferation, Contemporary Security Policy, 29 (3), December 2008.

S. K. Weiner, Preventing Nuclear Entrepreneurship in Russia’s Nuclear Cities, International Security, 27 (2), Fall 2002.

S. K. Weiner, Environmental Concerns at U.S. Overseas Military Installations, DACS Working Paper, Defense and Arms Control Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, July 1992.