Scott Sagan Headshot

Scott D. Sagan, PhD

  • The Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science
  • The Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education  
  • Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
  • Co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation

Stanford University
Encina Hall, E202
Stanford, CA 94305-6165

(650) 725-2715 (voice)
(650) 723-0089 (fax)


Scott D. Sagan is Co-Director and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science, and the Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education. He also serves as Chairman of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Committee on International Security Studies. Before joining the Stanford faculty, Sagan was a lecturer in the Department of Government at Harvard University and served as special assistant to the director of the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon.

Sagan is the author of Moving Targets: Nuclear Strategy and National Security (Princeton University Press, 1989); The Limits of Safety: Organizations, Accidents, and Nuclear Weapons (Princeton University Press, 1993); and, with co-author Kenneth N. Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: An Enduring Debate (W.W. Norton, 2012). He is the co-editor of Learning from a Disaster: Improving Nuclear Safety and Security after Fukushima (Stanford University Press, 2016) with Edward D. Blandford; co-editor of Insider Threats (Cornell University Press, 2017) with Matthew Bunn; and co-editor of The Fragile Balance of Terror (Cornell University Press, 2022) with Vipin Narang. Sagan was also the guest editor of a two-volume special issue of Daedalus: Ethics, Technology, and War (Fall 2016) and The Changing Rules of War (Winter 2017).


Recent publications include "Just and Unjust Nuclear Deterrence," in Ethics and International Affairs; “Inconstant Care: Public Attitudes towards Force Protection and Civilian Casualties in the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel,” with Janina Dill and Benjamin A. Valentino in The Journal of Conflict Resolution (August 2022); How to Keep the Ukraine Conflict From Going Nuclear,” in the Wall Street Journal (October 14, 2022); “From Kyoto to Baghdad to Tehran: Leadership, Law, and the Protection of Cultural Property,” in the Getty Foundation volume Cultural Heritage and Mass Atrocities; “The Rule of Law and the Role of Strategy in U.S. Nuclear Doctrine” with Allen S. Weiner in International Security (Spring 2021);  and “Does the Noncombatant Immunity Norm Have Stopping Power?” with Benjamin A. Valentino in International Security (Fall 2020).

In 2022 Sagan received the Thérèse Delpech Memorial Award from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an award given for "exceptional service to the nongovernmental nuclear policy community." He received the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. In 2017, he received the International Studies Association’s Susan Strange Award which recognizes the scholar whose “singular intellect, assertiveness, and insight most challenge conventional wisdom and intellectual and organizational complacency" in the international studies community. Sagan was also the recipient of the National Academy of Sciences William and Katherine Estes Award in 2015, for his work addressing the risks of nuclear weapons and the causes of nuclear proliferation. The award, which is granted triennially, recognizes “research in any field of cognitive or behavioral science that advances understanding of issues relating to the risk of nuclear war.” In 2013, Sagan received the International Studies Association's International Security Studies Section Distinguished Scholar Award. He has also won four teaching awards: Stanford’s 1998-99 Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching; Stanford's 1996 Hoagland Prize for Undergraduate Teaching; the International Studies Association’s 2008 Innovative Teaching Award; and the Monterey Institute for International Studies’ Nonproliferation Education Award in 2009.


Policy Briefs
June 1994

Civil-Military Relations and Nuclear Weapons

cover link Civil-Military Relations and Nuclear Weapons
Policy Briefs

Worst Practices Guide to Insider Threats: Lessons from Past Mistakes

cover link Worst Practices Guide to Insider Threats: Lessons from Past Mistakes

In The News

Russian Flag

How the west became less anxious about Russia’s nuclear threat

Despite sabre-rattling US and allies believe deploying such weapons would be too risky for Moscow
cover link How the west became less anxious about Russia’s nuclear threat