William J. Perry

Senior Fellow
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Biography: 

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

The Day After

by William J. Perry, Ash Carter, Michael M. Mayvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why we can, and must, plan for a nuclear attack on the United States. By William J. Perry, Ashton B. Carter, and Michael M. May.

In the News

The Day After: Action Following a Nuclear Blast in a U.S. City

by William J. Perryvia Washington Quarterly
Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ever since the United States lost its monopoly on nuclear weapons in 1949, the possibility of a nuclear attack on U.S. soil has been regarded as the gravest of all imaginable threats to U.S. national security...

Analysis and Commentary

After the Bomb

by William J. Perryvia New York Times
Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The probability of a nuclear weapon one day going off in an American city cannot be calculated, but it is larger than it was five years ago...

A World Free of Nuclear Weapons

by George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, Sam Nunnvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ending the threat of nuclear arms. By George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, Sam Nunn.

Analysis and Commentary

A World Free of Nuclear Weapons

by George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger, Sam Nunnvia Wall Street Journal
Thursday, January 4, 2007

Nuclear weapons today present tremendous dangers, but also an historic opportunity. U.S. leadership will be required to take the world to the next stage -- to a solid consensus for reversing reliance on nuclear weapons globally as a vital contribution to preventing their proliferation into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately ending them as a threat to the world.

Analysis and Commentary

A World Free of Nuclear Weapons

by George P. Shultz, William J. Perry with Abraham D. Sofaer, Thomas H. Henriksen, Michael H. Armacost, Martin Anderson, Henry S. Rowen, Sidney D. Drellvia Wall Street Journal
Thursday, January 4, 2007

Nuclear weapons today present tremendous dangers, but also an historic opportunity...

Analysis and Commentary

In Search of a North Korea Policy

by William J. Perryvia Washington Post
Wednesday, October 11, 2006

North Korea's declared nuclear bomb test program will increase the incentives for other nations to go nuclear, will endanger security in the region and could ultimately result in nuclear terrorism...

Analysis and Commentary

The Case for a Preemptive Strike on North Korea's Missiles

by William J. Perryvia Time Magazine Online
Monday, July 10, 2006

The Bush Administration has tried to downplay the mounting danger posed by North Korea …

Analysis and Commentary

If Necessary, Strike and Destroy

by William J. Perry, Ash Cartervia Hoover Daily Report
Thursday, June 22, 2006

North Korean technicians are reportedly in the final stages of fueling a long-range ballistic missile that some experts estimate can deliver a deadly payload to the United States…

Preventive Defense

by William J. Perry, Ash Cartervia Hoover Digest
Saturday, October 30, 1999

The post–Cold War era is in many ways proving more dangerous and unpredictable than the era of the Cold War itself. Hoover fellow and former secretary of defense William J. Perry and Ashton B. Carter offer a defense strategy for the scary new world.

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