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

A Remembrance of George P. Shultz by Sam Nunn

by Sam Nunnvia Hoover Daily Report
Thursday, October 7, 2021

In January, George and I spoke about the growing nuclear dangers challenging the world. George was, as usual, focused on actions—what states could do to reduce nuclear risks. His leadership and determination on that day was strong and compelling

George Shultz’s Vision

by William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, Sam Nunnvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The late statesman dreamed of eliminating the danger of nuclear weapons. His allies continue striving to make that dream a reality.

Nuclear Weapons

Building On George Shultz’s Vision Of A World Without Nukes

featuring George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, Sam Nunnvia The Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Most Americans are too young to remember the fear and dread of an atom bomb or nuclear crisis.


The Extension Of A Nuclear Treaty Between The U.S. And Russia Would Be A Crucial, Responsible Step

by George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Sam Nunnvia The Washington Post
Thursday, October 22, 2020

Albert Einstein is said to have thought that God does not play dice with the universe. Two nations, Russia and the United States, now possess about 90 percent of the world’s inventory of nuclear warheads and have the godlike power to destroy most of humanity and all it has built.

In the News

Global Nuclear Policy Experts Discuss Emerging Technology, Nuclear Non-Proliferation

featuring George P. Shultz, Sam Nunn, Hoover Institutionvia Stanford Daily
Friday, November 8, 2019

“The risk of a nuclear weapon being used somewhere in the world is probably trending in the wrong direction,” said Ernie Moniz, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and co-chair of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit that works to prevent nuclear catastrophe. “[The issue of] preventing the spread of nuclear weapons is a very, very important and timely one.”


Nuclear Dangers in an Emerging World

by Sam Nunnvia Governance In An Emerging New World
Tuesday, November 5, 2019

I find it distasteful when people quote themselves, so let me quote three other people. And those people would be George Shultz, Bill Perry, and Henry Kissinger. These were the words they used 12 years ago, in the Wall Street Journal, “Unless urgent new actions are taken, the United States soon will be compelled to enter into a new nuclear era, that will be more precarious, psychologically disorientating, and economically more costly than was the Cold War deterrence.”


Open Skies Help Keep The Peace With Russia

by George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Sam Nunnvia The Wall Street Journal
Sunday, October 20, 2019

Ike’s idea, codified in a 1992 treaty, is still a good one. The U.S. shouldn’t abandon the pact.


The Threat Of Nuclear War Is Still With Us

by George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Sam Nunnvia The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

[Subscription Required] The U.S., its allies and Russia are caught in a dangerous policy paralysis that could lead—most likely by mistake or miscalculation—to a military confrontation and potentially the use of nuclear weapons for the first time in nearly 74 years.


Sidney D. Drell
Analysis and Commentary

Statement from Sam Nunn On Sid Drell

by Sam Nunn featuring Sidney D. Drellvia Nuclear Threat Initiative
Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sid Drell lived a life of extraordinary and spirited public service. Sid’s many remarkable accomplishments across the fields of physics, science, human rights and national security were based on a foundation of personal integrity and a commitment to the truth.


On Nuclear Weapons, Nations Must Cooperate To Avoid Catastrophe

by Sam Nunn featuring George P. Shultz, Henry A. Kissingervia The Washington Post
Thursday, May 26, 2016

President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima comes almost 71 years after the conclusion of a world war that was fought and ended with tremendous sacrifice, huge casualties and immense devastation. Today, global nuclear arsenals are capable of destroying not only cities but also civilization itself.