William J. Perry

Senior Fellow
Research Team: 

William Perry is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies. He is the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor at Stanford University and serves as codirector of the Nuclear Risk Reduction initiative and the Preventive Defense Project. He is an expert in US foreign policy, national security, and arms control. He was the codirector of CISAC from 1988 to 1993, during which time he was also a half-time professor at Stanford.

Perry was the nineteenth secretary of defense for the United States, serving from February 1994 to January 1997. He previously served as deputy secretary of defense (1993–94) and as undersecretary of defense for research and engineering (1977–81). Perry currently serves on the Defense Policy Board, the International Security Advisory Board, and the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. He is on the board of directors of Covant, Fabrinet, LGS Bell Labs Innovations, and several emerging high-tech companies.

From 1946 to 1947, Perry was an enlisted man in the Army Corps of Engineers and served in the Army of Occupation in Japan. He joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1948 and was a second lieutenant in the Army Reserves from 1950 to 1955. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997 and the Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1998. He has received awards from the enlisted personnel of the army, navy, and air force. He has received decorations from the governments of Albania, Bahrain, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Poland, Slovenia, and Ukraine. He received a BS and MS from Stanford University and a PhD from Pennsylvania State University, all in mathematics.

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Recent Commentary

Kiev, Ukraine
Featured Commentary

Helping Ukraine Is a U.S. Imperative

by William J. Perry, George P. Shultzvia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Israel and Palestine exchange bombs and rockets for weeks on end, with yet another cease fire announced on Tuesday. A civil war is under way in Iraq; and a Russian military convoy violates the territorial integrity of Ukraine. These events demand a strategic approach on the part of the United States in which we maintain an ability to defend our interests in many places at once.

Nuclear Weapons
Featured Commentary

The Next Generation of Nuclear Awareness

by William J. Perrywith George P. Shultz, Stubvia Stanford Daily
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Indeed, during the Cold War, we avoided an “unparalleled catastrophe” by the slimmest of margins. When the Cold War ended, we hoped that the danger of nuclear weapons ended with it. But that was not to be.

Nuclear bomb's tell-tale mushroom cloud
Featured 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.

US Capitol
Blank Section (Placeholder)Featured Commentary

No security without diplomacy, development

by William J. Perry, Tim Solsovia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

By William J. Perry and Tim Solso

Featured 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...

Featured Commentary

What needs to change to defend America

by William J. Perryvia Washington Post
Sunday, August 1, 2010

America remains a nation at war. Our military is rightly focused on winning those wars. Yet beyond the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the future holds opportunities and challenges unique to this century. We must help prepare the military for the long-term threats facing America and strengthen the capabilities necessary to meet those threats...

What needs to change to defend America

by William J. Perryvia Advancing a Free Society
Sunday, August 1, 2010

By Stephen J. Hadley and William J. Perry

Only a START

by William J. Perry, George P. Shultzvia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 2, 2010

Now Washington and Moscow must use the latest disarmament treaty to keep pushing for a safer world. By William J. Perry and George P. Shultz.

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.