Our research

CISSM’s Advanced Methods of Cooperative Security Program builds the case for a fundamental transformation of security policies by focusing on areas where current policies fail to adequately reduce risks:

• the management of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy;
• the local dynamics of civil conflict and post-conflict reconstruction;
• emerging challenges, such as cybersecurity, climate change, and geoengineering;
• the oversight of research with dangerous pathogens; and
• the use of space for security and for the public good.

Ongoing CISSM research projects involve detailed examinations of policy options to address specific problems. For example:

• An investigation of the prospective standards and implementing capabilities of a comprehensive global nuclear material accounting system.
• An evaluation of the security benefits, costs, and risks of expanding nuclear energy production using different types of small modular reactors (SMRs) and associated fuel cycle arrangements.
• An analysis of the strategic and moral imperatives underlying the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, including a look at how the issue is portrayed in the news media.

Other projects look more broadly at ways to promote productive policy debates and to increase public awareness, including one that explores the connections between Americans' moral beliefs and their attitudes toward global policy problems, such as climate change and nuclear weapons.

Our community

CISSM is led by Director Nancy Gallagher. It includes full-time faculty and staff, research associates, post-doctoral fellows, graduate research assistants, and short-term visitors. To put into circulation ideas on the leading edge of policy debates, CISSM:

• publishes Working Papers and Policy Briefs that highlight research being done with CISSM’s support;
• hosts a weekly brown-bag lunch series, the CISSM Forum, which attracts speakers from across government, academia, and the nongovernmental sector; 
• sponsors special events to advance the cooperative security agenda;
• develops specialized courses on topics such as civil conflict, terrorism, arms control, and nonproliferation;
• conducts exchanges and policy exercises with the Moscow-based Institute for U.S.-Canada Studies (ISKRAN); and
• collaborates with its affiliate, the Center on Policy Attitudes on the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and on the Program for Public Consultation to assess U.S. and international public opinions.

Our mission

CISSM is well connected to policy debates and practitioners, and offers its researchers and students opportunities to develop broad perspectives on security, economic, and international development issues. It is also committed to developing in the next generation of U.S. and foreign security experts a deep-rooted understanding of the imperatives of cooperative security, as well as the professional tools needed to identify and implement practical solutions to complex security challenges. To learn more about CISSM, please call (301) 405-7601. 

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