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Photograph of Sharon Weiner

Sharon Weiner Associate Professor School of International Service

Degrees
  • PhD, political science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • MA, University of Lancaster (UK)
  • BS, Northeast Missouri State University; BA, Northeast Missouri State University

Bio
Sharon K. Weiner is Associate Professor at the School of International Service. Her research, teaching, and policy engagement are at the intersection of organizational politics and U.S. national security. Her current work focuses on the theory, practice, and social construction of deterrence, the politics of U.S. nuclear weapon modernization programs, and larger issues of civil-military relations.

From August 2014 through February 2017 Weiner served as a program examiner with the National Security Division of the White House Office of Management and Budget, where she had responsibility for budget and policy issues related to nuclear weapons and nonproliferation. Her previous government service includes the Joint Staff's Strategic Plans and Policy directorate, the House Armed Services Committee, and as an advisor to the office of a U.S. Senator.

She has held research positions at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Center for National Security Studies and at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security.

Weiner's book Our Own Worst Enemy? Institutional Interests and the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Expertise (MIT Press 2011) explored the role of organizational and partisan politics in the success and failure of U.S. cooperative nonproliferation programs with the former Soviet Union. The book won the 2012 Louis Brownlow award from the U.S. National Academy of Public Administration for its “outstanding contribution to the literature of public administration [and] new insights and original ideas about the role and behavior of governmental institutions and programs in the area of national security.”

Her scholarly work has appeared in International Security, Political Science Quarterly, Polity, The Nonproliferation Review, Daedalus, Contemporary Security Policy, as well as other journals. She recently completed a book on U.S. civil-military relations and the organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Her current projects include using Virtual Reality to better understand the assumptions of rationality and strategy in nuclear decision making during a crisis (thenuclearbiscuit.org), and an exploration of relationships between conceptions of deterrence and social and political structures, processes, and culture.

She holds a PhD in Political Science from MIT’s Security Studies Program. Her other awards include:
  • Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, 2018-2020
  • Darrell Randall Award for Service to the Community, SIS, 2017
  • Nuclear Challenge Grant, MacArthur Foundation, 2015-2016
  • Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship in Nuclear Security, 2014-2015
  • F. Gunther Eyck Award for Service, SIS, 2015
  • Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Professional Contributions, SIS, 2013
  • Louis Brownlow Award, U.S. National Academy of Public Administration, 2012
  • William Crowell Award for Outstanding Teaching, SIS, 2011
  • Visiting Scholar Fellowship, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2005-2006
  • Robert Jay Lifton Fellowship for Teaching Nuclear Weapons Issues, 2004-2005
  • Scholar of Vision Award, Carnegie Corporation of New York, 2001-2003
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Teaching

Spring 2021

  • SIS-653 Topics in U.S. Foreign Policy: Nuclear Weapons: Pol & Prolif

  • SIS-899 Doctoral Dissertation

  • SISU-106 First Year Seminar: Nuclear Weapons and Politics

Fall 2021

  • SIS-653 Topics in U.S. Foreign Policy: Nuclear Weapons: Pol & Prolif

  • SIS-899 Doctoral Dissertation

  • SISU-419 Senior Capstone: Int'l Studies: Nuclear Weapons & Int'l Pol

AU Experts

Area of Expertise

U.S. national security, nuclear weapons strategy and force structure, nonproliferation, civil-military relations, U.S. foreign policy, U.S. defense policy

Additional Information

Sharon K. Weiner is an international expert on nuclear weapons politics, strategy, and force structure and the organizational politics and U.S. national security policy more broadly. Her current work focuses on the theory, practice, and social construction of deterrence and the politics of U.S. nuclear weapon modernization programs. Her book, Our Own Worst Enemy? Institutional Interests and the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Expertise, won the 2012 Louis Brownlow award from the National Academy of Public Administration. Her articles have been published in International Security, Political Science Quarterly, The Nonproliferation Review, as well as other journals. Prof. Weiner’s research has been featured in print, online, and broadcast media outlets including The New York Times, Politico, War on the Rocks, Kommersant, and ZDF.

For the Media

To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

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