Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

James M. Acton

Senior Associate
Nuclear Policy Program

James M. Acton is a senior associate in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment. A physicist by training, Acton specializes in deterrence, disarmament, nonproliferation, and nuclear energy. His current research focuses on the implications of next-generation conventional weapons for both the nuclear disarmament process and international security more broadly.

Acton’s publications span the field of nuclear policy. He is the author of two Adelphi books, Deterrence During Disarmament: Deep Nuclear Reductions and International Security and Abolishing Nuclear Weapons (with George Perkovich). He wrote, with Mark Hibbs, “Why Fukushima Was Preventable,” a groundbreaking study into the accident’s root causes. And his analysis on proliferation threats, including Iran and North Korea, has been widely disseminated by major journals, newspapers, and websites.

Acton is a member of the Trilateral Commission on Challenges to Deep Cuts. He is a former member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials and was co-chair of the Next Generation Working Group on U.S.-Russian arms control (2010–2011). He has provided evidence to the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters and the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.

Acton has published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Foreign Affairs, the International Herald Tribune, Jane’s Intelligence Review, the New York Times, Nonproliferation Review, Survival, and Washington Quarterly. He has appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News and PBS NewsHour.

Areas of Expertise

East Asia, Iran, Middle East, North Korea, Defense and Security, Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Weapons


PhD, Theoretical Physics, Cambridge University



Featured Analysis

Abolishing Nuclear Weapons: A Debate

In a follow-up to George Perkovich and James M. Acton's groundbreaking paper, Abolishing Nuclear Weapons, leading experts from thirteen countries debate what it would take to achieve the immensely important yet equally difficult goal of reducing the world's nuclear weapons to zero.

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