Featured Impact

Six stories from 2018 that highlight Stimson’s unique approach to global change.

  • Nonproliferation

    Nuclear Safeguards

    In addition to its groundbreaking work applying digital ledger technology (DLT) to nuclear safeguards, Stimson’s Nuclear Safeguards program continually engages directly with those working on securing the back end of the fuel cycle. In 2018, program director Cindy Vestergaard visited two geological repositories—the first deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel in Olkiluoto, Finland and WIPP, the only site in the United States for defense-generated transuranic waste in New Mexico. This commitment to building deep connections with those directly involved in the activity affected by policymaking at the national and international level around spent nuclear fuel is a hallmark of Stimson’s approach to problem solving.
  • Nonproliferation

    Nuclear Security

    Stimson’s Nuclear Security program works with stakeholders across the nuclear industry to ensure nuclear material is stored and handled securely to prevent its diversion or misuse. The program approaches this work through multiple projects and partnerships. In addition to its work developing its Template for Nuclear Security Governance, the program organized and co-hosted a cross-sector roundtable with the Fissile Material Working Group on deconflicting misunderstandings of cybersecurity in the nuclear field
  • Tech & Trade

    Trade, Technology & Security

    Stimson’s Trade Technology and Security program helps governments improve their strategic trade controls to reduce the chance of diversion of regulated and dual use technologies with the goal of reducing the risk of WMD proliferation. In 2018, Senior Fellow Seema Gahlut traveled to Myanmar to help officials understand the various ways to build better trade controls and the economic rationale for investing in a Strategic Trade Control system. Additionally, the program participated in Track 1.5 dialogues organized by the Council on Security and Cooperation in the Asia Pacific on improving 1540 implementation and enforcement. These meetings, which took place in Taiwan and Cambodia, are a key part of the program’s overall efforts to increase understanding around strategic trade controls and help improve at-risk countries’ ability to implement and enforce best practices to prevent diversion.
  • Tech & Trade

    Arms Trade

    Stimson’s Conventional Defense program examines the impact of conventional weapons on communities caught in conflict, the relationship between arms sales and the recruitment and use of child soldiers, the use of drones and other weapons technologies, and U.S. reliance on security assistance as a tool of foreign and national security policies. Stimson continues to be the leader in analysis on and training around implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty and the implications of international trade in conventional weapons. In 2018 alone, the Conventional Defense program trained more than 70 government officials on how to develop stronger national controls for arms transfers. In March, the program hosted a conference on the global arms trade, raising awareness of the wide-reaching effects of underregulated and irresponsible arms sales. The conference featured Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and award-winning author Guy Lawson, whose book Arms and the Dudes was depicted in the movie War Dogs.
  • Asia


    In 2018, Stimson’s China program expanded its efforts to engage ethnic groups in northern Myanmar. The dialogues covered a range of important issues including federalism, the groups’ interests in the peace process. Stimson also worked with more than 200 Burmese officials and representatives from civil society groups in a workshop on federalism .
  • Asia


    On the eve of its 20th anniversary, the Japan program continued its long-time engagement with senior military leaders in the U.S. and Japan. In March, the program released the 5th report in the Views from the Next Generation series, an annual policy brief offering recommendations on the most significant challenges facing Japan and its international partners. Balancing Between Nuclear Deterrence and Disarmament includes five scholars’ analysis on how Japan can manage the tension between its need for effective nuclear deterrence and its long-term desire for a nuclear weapons free world. The program also brought three Visiting Fellows from Japan and Taiwan to conduct research in Washington and four emerging Japanese experts to DC to broaden transpacific collaboration. In September, the program hosted its 6th Voices from Japan series with the Honorable Tetsuro Kuroe, Special Advisor to the National Security Secretariat of Japan and former Vice-Minister of Defense, and LTG Koichi Isobe (JGSDF, ret.), former Commander of the JGSDF Eastern Army and former Vice Chief of Staff of the JSDF Joint Staff.
  • Asia

    South Asia

    South Asian Voices, marked its 5-year anniversary in September 2018. After over 1 million pageviews, 500 articles published from 200 contributors, the magazine is a unique platform for rising analysis from the subcontinent and beyond to share their expertise, voice their opinions, and share knowledge. The South Asia Program at Stimson, known for its high-quality analysis of ever-evolving strategic dynamics in Southern Asia continues also to lead in its development of the next generation of policymakers and leaders in the region.
  • Asia

    Southeast Asia

    Stimson’s Southeast Asia program combines extensive regional expertise with an innovative approach to water and resource management in the Mekong River Basin. The team works with stakeholders from small-holder farmers and fishermen to high-level government officials to understand and analyze the implications of energy development—specifically hydropower—on the river basin’s sustainability. In 2018, the team held 10 capacity building workshops to promote a renewable energy transition and smart hydropower planning in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The program’s focus on engaging stakeholders at all levels to facilitate smart long-term planning is critical to its success and recognition by governments, NGOs, and policymakers as an important and constructive voice in the ongoing conversation about sustainable energy development in a growing region.
  • Asia

    38 North

    In 2018, 38 North arrived at the Stimson Center and solidified its position as a leading voice in analysis of the Korean Peninsula. Its extensive use of commercial satellite imagery in its analysis—58 of 121 articles published in 2018 used such imagery—contributed to its growth and reputation as a publication focused on facts. The team conducted research on the challenges of demilitarization, demobilization, and the future of the US-ROK alliance and began a project examining the challenges and opportunities for comprehensive threat reduction in the region. Stimson hosted a forum around the Trump-Kim summit in May and provided expert analysis of what the two leaders would discuss.
  • International Order

    Global Governance

    Growing mass violence in fragile states, the threat of climate change, fears of cross-border economic shocks, and the increase in cyber warfare are just some of the challenges that can only be met with concerted multilateral efforts. Just Security 2020 uses the 2015 Albright-Gambari Commission Report as its guide as it analyzes, prioritizes, and facilitates the adoption of that report’s key recommendations to improve the UN’s ability to adequately address these complex, borderless challenges. In 2018, the program held high-level dialogues with policymakers, scholars and activists in New York, Washington DC, Rome, and The Hague to generate innovative ideas on the future of global governance and generate consensus around how to implement reforms. The program also unveiled the Platform on Global Security, Justice and Governance Reform that engages diverse actors in these efforts to address critical issues facing the global community.

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