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.

Perry's most recent book, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, is a continuation of his efforts to keep the world safe from a nuclear catastrophe.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

How to Build on the Start Treaty

by William J. Perry, George P. Shultzvia New York Times
Saturday, April 10, 2010

This has been a remarkable time for the Obama administration. After a year of intense internal debate, it issued a new nuclear strategy. And after a year of intense negotiations with the Russians, President Obama signed the New Start treaty with President Dmitri Medvedev in Prague.

Analysis and Commentary

Statement by George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger, and Sam Nunn on START Follow-On Treaty

by William J. Perry, George P. Shultzvia Nuclear Security Project
Friday, March 26, 2010

The four of us have expressed our belief that the potential use of nuclear weapons is one of the gravest dangers the world faces and have expressed our support for moving toward a world without nuclear weapons. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

How to Protect Our Nuclear Deterrent

by William J. Perry, George P. Shultz with William J. Perryvia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Maintaining confidence in our nuclear arsenal is necessary as the number of weapons goes down. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Case for ratifying Nuclear Test Ban

by William J. Perry with George P. Shultzvia Politico
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

On June 10, 1963, in a commencement address at American University, President John F. Kennedy announced the launch of high-level talks in Moscow with the aim of reaching early agreement on a treaty first proposed by President Eisenhower to ban all nuclear explosions for all time...

Analysis and Commentary

How to Reduce the Nuclear Threat

by William J. Perryvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Monday's North Korean nuclear test was a dramatic reminder of the challenges to eliminating nuclear weapons world-wide...

In the News

Smart Power Speaker Series: Reducing the Global Nuclear Threat

by William J. Perryvia Center for Strategic and International Studies
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) hosted a Smart Power Speaker Series event with former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, who discussed how future administrations should move towards a smarter nuclear policy...

Analysis and Commentary

McCain's bad G-8 judgment call

by William J. Perryvia Los Angeles Times
Wednesday, July 9, 2008

This week's Group of 8 meeting in Japan raises some important questions about Sen. John McCain's approach to the art of diplomacy...

Analysis and Commentary

The Right Path With N. Korea

by William J. Perryvia Washington Post
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Bush administration's North Korea strategy is being criticized from the right and the left for letting Pyongyang off the hook...

Defusing the Bomb Culture

by George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, Sam Nunnvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, April 17, 2008

The growing effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. By George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn.

Analysis and Commentary

Toward a Nuclear-Free World

by George P. Shultz, William J. Perryvia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The accelerating spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear know-how and nuclear material has brought us to a nuclear tipping point...