David Wright

Co-director and senior scientist

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Dr. Wright received his PhD in physics from Cornell University in 1983, and worked for five years as a research physicist. He was an SSRC-MacArthur Foundation Fellow in International Peace and Security in the Center for Science and International Affairs in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and a Senior Analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. He is a Fellow of the American Physics Society (APS) and a recipient of APS Joseph A. Burton Forum Award in 2001. He has been at UCS since 1992. Areas of expertise: Space weapons and security, ballistic missile proliferation, ballistic missile defense, U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons policy. David also blogs on the Equation.

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David's Latest Posts

North Korea Launches Four Missiles “Simultaneously”

Yesterday  North Korea launched four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.

The missiles reportedly traveled an average of 1,000 km (620 miles), and landed within 300 to 350 km (185 to 220 miles) of Japan. The four launches were said to be “simultaneous,” leading to speculation they were intended to be a barrage attack to overwhelm a missile defense system.

Read more >

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North Korea’s February 12 Missile Launch

Updated 8 pm EST Sunday

North Korea reportedly launched a medium-range missile Sunday morning local time (about 6 pm Saturday on the US east coast).

People are speculating about what missile it could have been. Based on the range, there are at least two candidates, which would be distinguishable by US intelligence if it was able to observe the launch. Read more >

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Is North Korea Planning a Long-Range Missile Launch?

A press story from South Korea reports that the North may be preparing for a missile test launch, possibly in the next few days. Some suggest this could be intended as fireworks for Donald Trump’s inauguration.

While this story talks about the test being of a long-range missile (an intercontinental range ballistic missile (ICBM)) the few details that have been made public don’t seem to support that—although not much is known at this point. Read more >

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Trump and the Nuclear Codes: How To Launch a Nuclear Weapon

There has been a lot of talk about the fact that after his inauguration, Donald Trump will have his finger on the “button” used to launch nuclear weapons. But the president does not actually have a “button.”

Instead when he becomes president he will be given nuclear codes that enable him to launch a nuclear strike.

What does that actually mean? Read more >

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An Upcoming Missile Launch by North Korea?

Press reports are saying that North Korea is likely to try another test launch in the next few days of a new missile it is developing. But there is some controversy about which missile that may be.

Based on reports from two recent failed tests, most people assume the upcoming test will be of the intermediate-range Musudan missile, which North Korea has tested either six or eight times this year. But others see evidence that suggests it could be the mysterious long-range KN-08 missile. Read more >

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