Bruce Blair, an internationally renowned scholar, expert, and activist on the risks of accidental nuclear war, died in July 2020. In more than forty years of research and writing and policy engagement, Blair demonstrated that these risks were far greater than understood or imagined by scholars, or by the civilian and military policy makers and leaders responsible for managing nuclear weapons. His work generated and informed important and enduring nuclear policy debates on these dangers and ways to address them. Bruce Blair’s published work is gathered together and made available here as a resource for scholars, students, activists, and policy makers.

In his Yale PhD thesis, and his books, reports, including material produced for the US Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment that has still not been declassified, many articles, essays, op-eds, interviews and briefings, and Congressional testimony, Blair revealed how these risks were an inevitable outcome of existing nuclear postures and policies, and related command and control systems. His work includes ideas for crisis management between nuclear-armed states, measures to reduce the risks of accidental, mistaken, and unauthorized launch of nuclear weapons, the need for shifting to safer nuclear postures, including a policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons, deep nuclear arsenal reductions, and for the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons.



C. Gaddy, A. Spindler, D. Maslov, and B. G. Blair (eds.), Problems of Engagement: Russia’s Security, Economic, and Banking Crises, Carnegie Corporation, New York, 2001.

H. A. Feiveson and B. G. Blair, The Nuclear Turning Point: A Blueprint for Deep Cuts and De-alerting of Nuclear Weapons, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, DC, 1999.

B. G. Blair, Global Zero Alert for Nuclear Forces, Brookings, Washington, DC, 1995.

B. G. Blair, The Logic of Accidental Nuclear War, Brookings, Washington, DC, 1993.

B. G. Blair, The Effects of Warning on Strategic Stability, Brookings, Washington, DC, 1991.

K. Gottfried and B. G. Blair (eds.), Crisis Stability and Nuclear War, Oxford University Press, New York, 1988.

B. G. Blair, C. Rice, et al. (eds.), Crisis Stability and Nuclear War, Ithaca, NY, 1987.

B. G. Blair, Strategic Command and Control: Redefining the Nuclear Threat, Brookings, Washington, DC, 1985.

B. M. Russett and B. G. Blair (eds.), Progress in Arms Control? Readings from Scientific American, W. H. Freeman, San Francisco, 1979.

B. G. Blair, Headless Horseman from the Apocalypse: Command and Control of U.S. Strategic Forces, PhD Thesis, Yale University, May 1984.



B. G. Blair, Loose Cannons: The President and US Nuclear Posture, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January 13, 2020.

B. G. Blair and J. Wolfsthal, We Still Can’t ‘Win’ a Nuclear War. Pretending We could is a Dangerous Fantasy, Washington Post, August 1, 2019.

B. G. Blair and R. Hopkins, How the Strategic Air Command Would Go to Nuclear War, National Security Archive, February 21, 2019.

B. G. Blair and F. von Hippel, Guest Opinion: Utah and the Nation Would be Safer without the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent, Deseret News, September 25, 2019.

B. G. Blair, J. Sleight, and E. C. Foley, The End of Nuclear Warfighting: Moving to a Deterrence-Only Posture, September 2018.

B. G. Blair and J. Wolfsthal, Trump Can Launch Nuclear Weapons Whenever He Wants, With or Without Mattis, Washington Post, December 23, 2018.

B. G. Blair et al., Virtual Roundtable on Presidential First Use of Nuclear Weapons, Public Books, February 26, 2018.

B. G. Blair, Strengthening Checks on Presidential Launch Authority, Arms Control Today, February 2018.

B. G. Blair, A New Trump Administration Plan Makes Nuclear War Likelier, Washington Post, January 13, 2018.

B. G. Blair, Why Our Nuclear Weapons Can Be Hacked, The New York Times, March 14, 2017.

B. G. Blair, What Trump Doesn’t Get About Nukes, POLITICO Magazine, February 11, 2017.

B. G. Blair, Presidents Have Too Much Power over U.S. Nukes. Especially President Trump, Washington Post, August 18, 2017.

B. G. Blair, My Time with Stanislav Petrov: No Cog in the Machine, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September 25, 2017.

J. E. Cartwright and B. G. Blair, End the First-Use Policy for Nuclear Weapons, The New York Times, August 14, 2016.

B. G. Blair, Trump and the Nuclear Keys, The New York Times, October 12, 2016.

B. G. Blair, Why Trump Is Right to Raise Questions About Nuclear Weapons, POLITICO Magazine, August 11, 2016.

B. G. Blair, What Exactly Would It Mean to Have Trump’s Finger on the Nuclear Button?, POLITICO Magazine, June 11, 2016.

B. G. Blair, Trump Has His Finger on the Nuclear Trigger: What Will He Choose to Do?, The Guardian, November 14, 2016.

B. G. Blair, Trump Could Face a Nuclear Decision Soon, POLITICO Magazine, November 16, 2016.

B. G. Blair, The Flimsy Case Against No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons, POLITICO Magazine, September 28, 2016.

B. G. Blair, Why Japan Ought to Support Nuclear No-First-Use, Kyodo News, July 19, 2016.

B. G. Blair, How Obama Could Revolutionize Nuclear Weapons Strategy Before He Goes, POLITICO Magazine, June 22, 2016.

B. G. Blair, Could U.S.-Russia Tensions Go Nuclear?, POLITICO Magazine, November 27, 2015.

B. G. Blair, Book Review: Mad Fiction, The Nonproliferation Review, 21 (2), April 2014.

B. G. Blair, Risks of Nuclear Weapons Use in an Era of Proliferation, Cyber Warfare and Terrorism, Colloquium, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, March 5, 2014.

B. G. Blair, V. Esin, M. McKinzie, V. Yarynich, and P. Zolotarev, One Hundred Nuclear Wars: Stable Deterrence between the United States and Russia at Reduced Nuclear Force Levels Off Alert in the Presence of Limited Missile Defenses, Science & Global Security, 19 (3), August 2011.

B. G. Blair, M. Brown, R. Burt, J. Joffe, and J. W. Davis, Can Disarmament Work? Debating the Benefits of Nuclear Weapons, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2011.

B. G. Blair, World Nuke Spending to Top $1 Trillion Per Decade, Time, June 4, 2011.

B. G. Blair, Trump to Obama: We’re Under Nuclear Attack – Pass the Phone to Biden, Time, April 25, 2011.

B. G. Blair, Trapped in ‘Residual Nuclear Deterrence’, Time, April 20, 2011.

B. G. Blair, Nuke Modernization – Wrong Priority, Time, April 25, 2011.

B. G. Blair, If Anything, $700 Billion Underestimates U.S. Nuke Spending in Next Decade, Time, December 5, 2011.

B. G. Blair, China’s Rapid Space Ascent, Time, July 13, 2011.

B. G. Blair, V. Esin, M. McKinzie, V. Yarynich, and P. Zolotarev, Smaller and Safer: A New Plan For Nuclear Postures, Foreign Affairs, 89 (5), 2010.

B. G. Blair, D. Bosetti, and B. Weeden, Bombs Away, The New York Times, December 6, 2010.

B. G. Blair, Could Terrorists Launch America’s Nuclear Missiles?, Time, November 11, 2010.

B. G. Blair, C. Thomas B, et al., Toward True Security: Ten Steps The Next President Should Take to Transform U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists, Cambridge, MA, February 2008.

B. G. Blair, The Future of Nuclear Disarmament, Defense Monitor, 37 (2), March/April 2008.

B. G. Blair, Primed and Ready, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 63 (1), January 2007.

B. G. Blair, “New Project to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons,” Defense Monitor, 36 (3), June 5, 2007.

B. G. Blair, A Rebuttal of the U.S. Statement on the Alert Status of U.S. Nuclear Forces, Center for Defense Information, October 2007.

B. G. Blair, C. Yali, and E. Hagt, The Oil Weapon: Myth of China’s Vulnerability, China Security, 2006.

B. G. Blair and C. Yali, Editors’ Notes: The Space Security Dilemma, China Security, 2, 2006.

B. G. Blair and C. Yali, The Fallacy of Nuclear Primacy, China Security, 2006.

B. G. Blair, “Iran and the Rogues: America’s Nuclear Obsession,” Center for Defense Information, September 19, 2005.

B. G. Blair, General Zhu and Chinese Nuclear Preemption, China Security, 2005.

B. G. Blair, Keeping Presidents in the Nuclear Dark: The Case of the Missing Permissive Action Links, Center for Defense Information, Center for Defense Information, February 17, 2004.

B. G. Blair, “The Wrong Deterrence: The Threat of Loose Nukes is One of Our Own Making,” The Washington Post, September 19, 2004, available online at

B. G. Blair, The Folly of Nuclear War-Gaming for Korea and South Asia, Center for Defense Information, April 2003.

B. G. Blair, Nuclear Recollections, Center for Defense Information, 32 (2), May 2003.

B. G. Blair, Hair-Trigger Nukes Risk Catastrophic Terrorism, Center for Defense Information, May 2003.

B. G. Blair, “We Keep Building Nukes for All the Wrong Reasons,” The Washington Post, May 25, 2003.

B. G. Blair, “The Logic of Intelligence Hype and Blindness,” Center for Defense Information, November 12, 2003.

B. G. Blair, “Rogue States: Nuclear Red-Herrings,” Center for Defense Information, December 2003.

B. G. Blair, Nuclear Time Warp, May 2, 2003.

B. G. Blair, “US Nuclear Posture and Alert Status Post Sept. 11,” Strategic Partners or Nuclear Targets? Russian and US Perspectives on Hair-Trigger Alert and the Nuclear Posture Review, Carnegie Non-Proliferation Project, January 2002.

B. G. Blair, C. Thomas B, and F. Tom Z. Collina, Toward True Security: A US Nuclear Posture for the Next Decade, Union of Concerned Scientists, June 2001.

B. G. Blair, “The Ultimate Hatred Is Nuclear,” The New York Times, October 22, 2001.

B. G. Blair, “Nukes: A Lesson From Russia,” The Washington Post, July 11, 2001.

B. G. Blair, “Nuclear Nightmares,” National Journal, December 2001.

F. von Hippel and B. G. Blair, “A Longer Nuclear Fuse,” The Washington Post, June 6, 2000.

B. G. Blair, Trapped in the Nuclear Math, The New York Times, June 12, 2000.

B. G. Blair, “Letter from the President of CDI,” Defense Monitor, 29 (2), Project On Government Oversight, February 2000.

B. G. Blair, Some Sensible Options for U.S. Missile Defense, The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia, June 3, 2000.

B. G. Blair, “The Impact of Missile Defense on Russia and Nuclear Security,” The Defense Monitor, October 2000.

B. G. Blair, “START III, Nuclear War Plans, and the Cold War Mindset,” The Defense Monitor, June 2000.

B. G. Blair, “Russian National Security Policy,” US-Russia Relations Conference Report, The Aspen Institute, August 2000.

B. G. Blair, “Nuclear De-alerting: A Solution to Proliferation Problems,” The Defense Monitor, November 2000.

B. G. Blair, “Impact of NMD on Russia, Nuclear Security,” National Missile Defense: What Does It All Mean?, Center for Defense Information, September 2000.

B. G. Blair and C. Gaddy, “Russia’s Aging War Machine: Economic Weakness and the Nuclear Threat,” The Brookings Review, 17 (3), June 1999.

L. Forrow, B. G. Blair, et al., Accidental Nuclear War — A Post–Cold War Assessment, New England Journal of Medicine, 338 (18), April 1998.

B. Blair, F. von Hippel, and H. A. Feiveson, “De-alerting Russian and American Nuclear Missiles,” United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, UNIDIR Newsletter, 38, 1998.

B. G. Blair, Loose Cannon, Brookings, June 1, 1998.

B. G. Blair, “Where Would All the Missiles Go?,” The Washington Post, October 15, 1998.

B. G. Blair, F. von Hippel, and H. A. Feiveson, Taking Nuclear Weapons Off Hair-Trigger AlertScientific American, 227 (5), November 1997.

B. G. Blair, F. von Hippel, and H. A. Feiveson, “Redoubling Nuclear Weapons Reduction,” The Washington Post, November 12, 1997.

B. G. Blair and S. Nunn, “From Nuclear Deterrence to Mutual Safety,” The Washington Post, June 22, 1997.

B. G. Blair, “Who’s Got the Button? The Slightly Shaky Control of Russia’s Nuclear Weapons,” The Washington Post, September 29, 1996.

B. G. Blair, Lengthening the Fuse: Global Zero Alert for Nuclear Forces, The Brookings Review, 13 (3), Summer 1995.

B. G. Blair, “Four Trillion and Counting,” Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 51 (6), November/December 1995.

B. G. Blair, “And the Moral Price of Nuclear Peace,” The Washington Post, August 10, 1995.

B. G. Blair and H. W. Kendall, “Dismantle Armageddon,” The New York Times, May 21, 1994.

B. G. Blair, “Nuclear Inadvertence: Theory and Evidence,” Security Studies, 3 (3), Spring 1994.

B. G. Blair, “IAEA: Mission Impossible?,” The Brookings Review, Summer 1994.

B. G. Blair, Ukraine’s Nuclear Backlash, The Brookings Review, 11 (3), Summer 1993.

B. G. Blair, Russia’s Doomsday Weapons, The New York Times, October 8, 1993.

B. G. Blair, Lighten Up on Ukraine, The New York Times, June 1, 1993.

B. G. Blair, Break-up of the USSR: Whither Nuclear Control?, Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, 2 (2), Fall 1992.

B. G. Blair and H. W. Kendall, Accidental Nuclear War, Scientific American, 263 (6), December 1990.

B. G. Blair and G. D. Brewer, The Terrorist Threat to World Nuclear Programs, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 21 (3), pp. 379–403, September 1977.