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Cambridge, Mass. – Graham Allison, director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, will receive the 2009 National Academy of Sciences' Award for Behavioral Research Relevant to the Prevention of Nuclear War on Sunday, April 26, 2009, in Washington, D.C. He is being honored for illuminating alternative ways of thinking about political decision making with special relevance to crises, including nuclear crises, as demonstrated in his groundbreaking Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis and subsequent works.
Dr. Allison’s latest book, Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, is now in its third printing and was selected by the New York Times as one of the "100 most notable books of 2004." It presents a strategy for preventing nuclear terrorism organized under a doctrine of "Three Nos:" no loose nukes; no new nascent nukes; and no new nuclear weapons states.
Dr. Allison's seminal book, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, first published in 1971, and significantly revised and reissued in 1999, ranks among the bestsellers in political science with more than 400,000 copies in print.
The National Academy of Sciences’ award, established by the gift of William and Katherine Estes, comes with a $20,000 prize and recognizes basic research in any field of cognitive or behavioral science that uses rigorous formal and empirical methods to advance our understanding of issues relating to the risk of nuclear war.
As Assistant Secretary of Defense in the first Clinton Administration, Dr. Allison received the Defense Department's highest civilian award, the Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, for "reshaping relations with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan to reduce the former Soviet nuclear arsenal." This resulted in the safe return of more than 12,000 tactical nuclear weapons from the former Soviet republics and the complete elimination of more than 4,000 strategic nuclear warheads previously targeted at the United States and left in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus when the Soviet Union disappeared.
As "Founding Dean" of the modern Kennedy School, under his leadership, from 1977 to 1989, a small, undefined program grew twenty-fold to become a major professional school of public policy and government.
Dr. Allison has served as Special Advisor to the Secretary of Defense under President Reagan. He has the sole distinction of having twice been awarded the Department of Defense's highest civilian award, the Distinguished Public Service Medal, first by Secretary Cap Weinberger and second by Secretary Bill Perry. He served as a member of the Defense Policy Board for Secretaries Weinberger, Carlucci, Cheney, Aspin, Perry and Cohen.
Dr. Allison was the organizer of the Commission on America's National Interests (1996 and 2000) that included leading Senators and national security specialists from across the country, including former Senators Sam Nunn and Bob Graham, Senators John McCain and Pat Roberts, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Armitage, and Robert Ellsworth.
Dr. Allison was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was educated at Davidson College; Harvard College (B.A., Magna Cum Laude, in History); Oxford University (B.A. and M.A., First Class Honors in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics); and Harvard University (Ph.D. in Political Science).