Sig Hecker: Nuclear North Korea and Lessons for the Iran Deal

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Sig Hecker: Nuclear North Korea and Lessons for the Iran Deal
Featured Events Past Events Special Events

Nuclear North Korea and Lessons for the Iran Deal

Speaker: Sig Hecker, Stanford University Research Professor and Director Emeritus, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Moderator: Valerie Plame, former career covert CIA operations officer and best-selling author

Location: Santa Fe Center for Spiritual Living, 505 Camino de Los Marquez

Cost: $15 CIR Members; $20 Non-members & Guests; students and faculty attend for free.

The Clinton administration had a deal with North Korea to freeze its nuclear program. The Bush administration walked away from the deal because Pyongyang was cheating, but it was not prepared for the consequences – North Korea building a handful of bombs. The Obama administration responded to Pyongyang’s missile launch and nuclear test early in its tenure with sanctions, but then watched North Korea build a menacing nuclear arsenal. The Trump administration now faces the challenge of preventing nuclear war. Mr. Trump has threatened to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal, but appears as unprepared for the consequences as was the Bush administration for the case of North Korea in 2001.

Siegfried S. Hecker is a professor (research) in the Department of Management Science and Engineering and a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI). He was co-director of Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) from 2007-2012. From 1986 to 1997, Dr. Hecker served as the fifth Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dr. Hecker is an internationally recognized expert in plutonium science, global threat reduction, and nuclear security.

Dr. Hecker’s research projects at CISAC focus on reducing the risks of nuclear terrorism worldwide and the challenges of nuclear India, North Korea, Pakistan, and the nuclear aspirations of Iran. Dr. Hecker is also compiling and editing a book with two of his Russian colleagues on the history of Russian-U.S. laboratory-to-laboratory cooperation since 1992.

Dr. Hecker joined Los Alamos National Laboratory as graduate research assistant and postdoctoral fellow before returning as technical staff member following a tenure at General Motors Research. He led the laboratory’s Materials Science and Technology Division and Center for Materials Science before serving as laboratory director from 1986 through 1997, and senior fellow until July 2005.

Among his professional distinctions, Dr. Hecker is a member of the National Academy of Engineering; foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences; fellow of the TMS, or Minerals, Metallurgy and Materials Society; fellow of the American Society for Metals; fellow of the American Physical Society, honorary member of the American Ceramics Society; and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His achievements have been recognized with the Presidential Enrico Fermi Award, the American Physical Society’s Leo Szilard Prize, the American Nuclear Society’s Seaborg Medal, the Department of Energy’s E.O. Lawrence Award, the Los Alamos National Laboratory Medal, among other awards including the Alumni Association Gold Medal and the Undergraduate Distinguished Alumni Award from Case Western Reserve University, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in metallurgy.

Valerie Plame, former career covert CIA operations officer, will provide introductory remarks and interview Dr. Hecker after his talk. Valerie Plame worked to protect America’s national security and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons. During her career with the CIA, Valerie managed top-secret covert programs designed to keep terrorists and rogue nation states from acquiring nuclear weapons. She is the author of the New York Times best-selling memoir Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House, which was released as a major motion picture of the same name starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts. Along with Sarah Lovett, she has published the well received fictional spy thrillers Blowback and Burned. She also served as the narrator and appeared as an expert in the film Countown to Zero, a documentary on the threat of nuclear war.

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Need some background reading on this? Below find six articles:

Open Letter from Scientists to President Trump – January 2, 2017

The US Must Talk to North Korea – by Sig Hecker, January 12, 2017

What to Make of North Korea’s Latest Nuclear Test – by Sig Hecker, September 12, 2017

For Iran, a nuclear option more trouble than it was worth – by Sig Hecker, January 18, 2016

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists – Column on North Korea – by Sig Hecker, January 2, 2015