Jeffrey Lewis (academic)

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Jeffrey Lewis is an American expert in nuclear nonproliferation and geopolitics, currently an Adjunct Professor at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (otherwise known as the CNS) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and director of the CNS East Asia Nonproliferation Program.[1] He has written two books on China's nuclear weapons, and numerous journal and magazine articles, blog posts, podcasts, and tweets on nonproliferation and related topics.

He is well known as a popularizer of nonproliferation and strategic topics since 2004 via his blog site "Arms Control Wonk".[2] and the related Arms Control Wonk Podcasts, which are cohosted by him and Aaron Stein. He also tweets as @ArmsControlWonk.[3]

Lewis has been repeatedly cited as an expert on nuclear programs of China, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, and South Africa in the media.

His research interests have also included open source intelligence, using and promoting the use of analysis of satellite images, photography, and other information sources to understand events and issues in proliferation and related topics.


Lewis received a Ph.D. in Policy Studies from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Augustana College.[4]

Research and policy work[edit]

From 2007-2010, Lewis directed the Nuclear Strategy and Nonproliferation Initiative at the New America Foundation.[5] From 2006-2007, he was Executive Director of the Managing the Atom Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.[6]

Since 2010, Lewis has been the Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at MIIS in Monterey, California, and an adjunct professor at MIIS.[7] Research topics have included nuclear proliferation and weapons programs of China, North Korea, Iran, and other states, and open-source intelligence performed by the policy community itself (see for example Eliot Higgins).

He has worked with graduate students and MIIS and other researchers to develop tools and provide training on tools and technology for open source intelligence.[8][9][10]

He is also an affiliate with the Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation.[11]

North Korea[edit]

Lewis has extensively written and spoken, including for media reports, on the weapons tests, development program, and missile programs of North Korea, a country covered by the East Asia Nonproliferation Program.[12][13] [14][15][16][17][18]

Lewis has written specifically about North Korea's nuclear materials production; weapons design choices (including nuclear weapon size/miniaturization and use of fissile uranium or plutonium in warheads); missiles and the North Korean space program; North Korea's missile press coverage, propaganda, and misinformation. He makes frequent use of open source intelligence from satellite and press/propaganda images and stories.

On April 27, 2017, Lewis dismissed the notion, promoted by Peter Vincent Pry[19] and others, that North Korea could seriously harm the United States with an EMP weapon.[20]


One of the countries covered by the East Asia Nonproliferation Program, China has been a focus for Lewis, including his two books and monograph. His books Paper Tigers: China's Nuclear Posture (2014) and The Minimum Means of Reprisal: China's Search for Security in the Nuclear Age (2007) examine China's nuclear weapons and missiles policies. He wrote,[21] podcasted,[22] and was cited in mainstream press coverage in 2015 rebutting claims that China's adding MIRVs to its larger missiles was a dangerous escalation, arguing instead that it was a natural evolution for the Chinese older, larger missile force.[23] He has also studied and written about China's nuclear program as it relates to other powers such as India.[24]

Lewis has also written on China's conventional weapons program, including antiship and conventional ballistic missile programs and their testing of a hypervelocity weapon system.[25]



  • Paper Tigers: China's Nuclear Posture - Adelphi Series - Routledge (2014) - ISBN 978-1138907140
  • The Minimum Means of Reprisal: China's Search for Security in the Nuclear Age - MIT Press (2007) - ISBN 978-0262622028


  • A Place for One’s Mat: China’s Space Program, 1956-2003 (with Gregory Kulacki), American Academy of Arts and Sciences Occasional Paper (July 2009).[26]


Lewis has written for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Foreign Policy magazine, Jane's Intelligence Review, Nonproliferation Review and New Scientist among other journals.

Blogs and online journals[edit]

Lewis is the publisher of Arms Control Wonk blog. He additionally contributes to Foreign Policy - columnist since 2013.,[27] and to 38 North, an online journal on published by the US-Korea Institute at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.


  1. ^ "Nonproliferation & Terrorism Studies Faculty". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "About Us - armscontrolwonk". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Jeffrey Lewis". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Dr. Jeffrey Lewis". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "American Strategy Program - Nuclear Strategy & Nonproliferation Initiative". Archived from the original on February 23, 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "Belfer Center Home > Experts > Jeffrey G. Lewis". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Jeffrey Lewis - Director - East Asia Nonproliferation Program". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  8. ^ Hanham, Melissa (4 February 2015). "CNS Produces Workshop on Open Source Analysis for UC Berkeley". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "Author - Melissa Hanham". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  10. ^ Hanham, Melissa (4 March 2015). "Hello, World!". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "Jeffrey Lewis - Stanford CISAC". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  12. ^ Sang-hun, Choe; Gladstone, Rick (25 January 2013). "North Korea turns its ire on South Korea". New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  13. ^ Gladstone, Rick; Mullany, Gerry (7 August 2013). "Study Suggests North Korea Is Doubling Area Devoted to Uranium Enrichment". New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  14. ^ Fisher, Max (12 Feb 2013). "Why it's so hard to tell if North Korea used a plutonium or (much scarier) uranium bomb". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  15. ^ "Q&A: Uranium enrichment". BBC News. 1 September 2006. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  16. ^ "North Korea's Yongbyon reactor 'nearing operation'". BBC News. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  17. ^ "N Korea 'develops Russian cruise missile'". BBC News. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  18. ^ Fifield, Anna (20 May 2015). "North Korea says it has technology to make mini nuclear warheads". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Brumfiel, Geoff (April 27, 2017). "The North Korean Electromagnetic Pulse Threat, Or Lack Thereof". NPR. Retrieved May 18, 2017. 
  21. ^ Lewis, Jeffrey (26 May 2015). "Great, now China's got multiple warhead missiles?". Foreign Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  22. ^ Lewis, Jeffrey; Stein, Aaron (19 May 2015). "China MIRVs some missiles". Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  23. ^ Sanger, David; Broad, William (16 May 2015). "China Making Some Missiles More Powerful". New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  24. ^ Marcus, Jonathan (20 April 2012). "Will India's missile test trigger arms race with China?". BBC News. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  25. ^ Lewis, Jeffrey (4 Sep 2014). "Crashing Glider, Hidden Hotspring". Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Author - Jeffrey Lewis". Retrieved 11 June 2015. 

External links[edit]