April 25, 2003
Colloquium Speaker: Victor Utgoff
Dr. Victor Utgoff is a Deputy Director of the Strategy, Forces, and Resources Division of the Institute for Defense Analyses. During 1998-99, on a sabbatical from IDA, he established the Advanced Systems and Concepts Office, an in-house think-tank for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. During 1977-81, he was a senior member of the National Security Council Staff. Prior to those assignments he worked for several research and aerospace organizations. He was editor and contributor to a volume of essays entitled: The Coming Crisis: Nuclear Proliferation, U.S. Interests, and World Order (MIT Press, 2000), author of: The Challenge of Chemical Weapons: An American Perspective (MacMillan, 1990), and co-author of: Fiscal and Economic Implications of Strategic Defenses (Westview, 1986). He has published a variety of papers on issues posed by the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. In 1999, he received IDA’s Andrew J. Goodpaster Award for Excellence in Research. Dr. Utgoff received his SB in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in 1960 and his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1970.
What is the nature of the long-term solution to the problem of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction? Widening proliferation makes use of these weapons inevitable, avoiding wars with such weapons requires that the US become a global sheriff, but a global sheriff needs the cooperation of all or nearly all nations to be able to do the job effectively. Thus, the US seems unlikely to be able to simply claim the office, but instead must run the equivalent of a global campaign to win the office. As the kind of campaigning needed to win such an office and formally take it on would be radical breaks with past US behavior, and as formally supporting the US in such a role would be a radical break with past behavior for many of the world’s nations, what are the incentives that will likely motivate such behavior? What do these more abstract arguments say about current events and US policies?