Graham Allison

Graham Allison is the founding dean of Harvard's modern John F. Kennedy School of Government and Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He was Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy and Plans in the first Clinton Administration.

Recent Articles

The Gravest Danger

When asked in the first presidential debate of 2004 what constitutes the “single most serious threat to American national security,” there was a brief instant of agreement between President Bush and Senator Kerry. Both answered, “Nuclear terrorism.” The president repeated that he agreed with his opponent that the biggest threat facing the country is nuclear weapons “in the hands of a terrorist enemy.” To prevent a nuclear terrorist attack on an American city, the administration accomplished a great deal more in its first term than the critics acknowledge. But if one stands back and examines the forest rather than the trees, even more remains to be done. The first step in meeting this threat is to realize its urgency, recognize the weaknesses in the current response, and define an agenda of actions that can stop terrorists from destroying the core of an American city. For Americans to fully grasp what an act of nuclear terrorism would mean, they should imagine such an event happening in...