Sam Nunn

Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Sam Nunn is an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution and cochairman and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a charitable organization working to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. He served as a United States senator from Georgia for 24 years (1972–96) and has retired from the law firm of King & Spalding.

Raised in the small town of Perry in middle Georgia, he attended Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Emory Law School, from which he graduated with honors in 1962. After active duty service in the US Coast Guard, he served six years in the US Coast Guard Reserve. He first entered politics as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives in 1968.

During his tenure in the US Senate, Senator Nunn served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He also served on the Intelligence and Small Business Committees. His legislative achievements include the landmark Department of Defense Reorganization Act, drafted with the late Senator Barry Goldwater, and the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which provides assistance to Russia and the former Soviet republics with which to secure and destroy their excess nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

In addition to his work with NTI, Senator Nunn has continued his service in the public policy arena as a distinguished professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech and as chairman of the board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

He is a board member of the Coca-Cola Company and General Electric Company.

He is married to the former Colleen O’Brien and has two children, Michelle and Brian, and two grandchildren.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Sam Nunn, Richard Lugar And Des Browne Release Recommendations On Securing Military Nuclear Materials

by Sam Nunn, Richard Lugar , Des Brownevia The Nuclear Threat Initiative
Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Report draws from input of study group of former military and political officials from nuclear-armed states.

Analysis and Commentary

Congress Should Support Iran Nuclear Pact

by Sam Nunn, Richard Lugar via Atlanta Journal Constitution
Thursday, September 3, 2015

At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear warheads aimed at American cities, and the Soviets were subject to numerous arms controls agreements.

Analysis and Commentary

We Need To Take The Dirty Bomb Threat Seriously

by Sam Nunn, Andrew Bieniawskivia The Washington Post
Friday, August 21, 2015

Amid a campaign of terror that has included beheadings and suicide bombings, recent reports from the Middle East that Islamic State extremists may now have stolen enough material for a radioactive “dirty bomb” are chilling — but should not be shocking.

Nuclear Security: The Problems and the Road Ahead by Secretary George Shultz

Nuclear Security: The Problems and the Road Ahead

by George P. Shultz, Sidney D. Drell, Henry A. Kissinger, Sam Nunnvia Hoover Press
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Concern about the threat posed by nuclear weapons has preoccupied the United States and presidents of the United States since the beginning of the nuclear era.

Steady Hands

by George P. Shultz, Sam Nunnvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Nurture a free, independent Ukraine but engage with Russia—America can, and must, do both.

Nuclear bomb's tell-tale mushroom cloud
Analysis and Commentary

Next Steps in Reducing Nuclear Risks

by George P. Shultz, Henry A. Kissinger, Sam Nunn, William J. Perryvia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Every American president since the end of World War II has sought to come to grips with the unique security risks and challenges associated with nuclear weapons.

Analysis and Commentary

Deterrence in the Age of Nuclear Proliferation

by George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, Sam Nunnwith Hoover Institutionvia Wall Street Journal
Monday, March 7, 2011

The doctrine of mutual assured destruction is obsolete in the post-Cold War era...

A Safe, Reliable Arsenal

by George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, Sam Nunnvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nuclear weapons research and maintenance must continue, even as the world works to make nuclear arms obsolete. By George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn.