Getting to Zero: Why U.S. Nuclear Doctrine Will Make it Extremely Difficult



Date and Time

April 8, 2010 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Reuben W. Hills Conference Room

FSI Contact

Justin C. Liszanckie

Lynn Eden is acting co-director (2008-09) at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University. Eden received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan, held several pre- and post-doctoral fellowships, and taught in the history department at Carnegie Mellon before coming to Stanford. In the area of international security, Eden has focused on U.S. foreign and military policy, arms control, the social construction of science and technology, and organizational issues regarding nuclear policy and homeland security. She co-edited, with Steven E. Miller, Nuclear Arguments: Understanding the Strategic Nuclear Arms and Arms Control Debates (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1989). She was an editor of The Oxford Companion to American Military History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), which takes a social and cultural perspective on war and peace in U.S. history. That volume was chosen as a Main Selection of the History Book Club.

Eden's book Whole World on Fire: Organizations, Knowledge, and Nuclear Weapons Devastation(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004; New Delhi: Manas Publications, 2004) explores how and why the U.S. government--from World War II to the present--has greatly underestimated the damage caused by nuclear weapons by failing to predict damage from firestorms. It shows how well-funded and highly professional organizations, by focusing on what they do well and systematically excluding what they don't, may build a poor representation of the world--a self-reinforcing fallacy that can have serious consequences, from the sinking of the Titanic to not predicting the vulnerability of the World Trade Center to burning jet fuel. Whole World on Fire won the American Sociological Association's 2004 Robert K. Merton Award for best book in science, knowledge, and technology.

Eden has also written on life in small-town America. Her first book, Crisis in Watertown (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1972) was her college senior thesis; it was a finalist for a National Book Award in 1973. Her second book, Witness in Philadelphia, with Florence Mars (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1977), about the murders of civil rights workers Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman in the summer of 1964, was a Book of the Month Club Alternate Selection.

Providing commentary on Dr. Eden's paper is Lieutenant Colonel John Vitacca, a national defense fellow for 2009-2010 at CISAC. 

John holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing from Texas A&M University, a Master of Business Administration degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Master of Arts degree in Military Operational Art and Science from Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Alabama.  He is a command pilot with over 3,400 flight hours in the B-2 and B-52, qualified as both an instructor and evaluator pilot.  Prior to coming to CISAC, John served in various assignments including a tour at the Pentagon as the Chief of the Global Persistent Attack Branch and the B-2/Next Generation Bomber subject matter expert.   Most recently, he was the Commander of the 393d Bomb Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, one of only two operational B-2 stealth bomber squadrons in the USAF.  His research at CISAC will focus on nuclear weapons policy issues.

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