Open main menu

Jeffrey Lewis is an American expert in nuclear nonproliferation and geopolitics, currently an Adjunct Professor at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (otherwise known as the CNS) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and director of the CNS East Asia Nonproliferation Program.[1] He has written two books on China's nuclear weapons, and numerous journal and magazine articles, blog posts, podcasts, and tweets on nonproliferation and related topics.

Jeffrey Lewis
OccupationProfessor, political scientist
Academic background
EducationBA in Philosophy and Political Science, Augustana College
PhD in Policy Studies (International Security and Economic Policy), University of Maryland (1982)
Academic work
DisciplineNuclear nonproliferation and foreign policy
InstitutionsMiddlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

He is known as a popularizer of nonproliferation and strategic topics since 2004 via his blog site "Arms Control Wonk".[2] and the related Arms Control Wonk Podcasts, which are cohosted by him and Aaron Stein. He also tweets as @ArmsControlWonk.[3]

Lewis has been repeatedly cited as an expert on nuclear programs of China, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, and South Africa in the media.

His research interests have also included open source intelligence, using and promoting the use of analysis of satellite images, photography, and other information sources to understand events and issues in proliferation and related topics.



Lewis received a PhD in Policy Studies from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Augustana College.[4]

Research and policy workEdit

From 2007 to 2010, Lewis directed the Nuclear Strategy and Nonproliferation Initiative at the New America Foundation.[5] From 2006 to 2007, he was Executive Director of the Managing the Atom Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.[6]

Since 2010, Lewis has been the Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at MIIS in Monterey, California, and an adjunct professor at MIIS.[7] Research topics have included nuclear proliferation and weapons programs of China, North Korea, Iran, and other states, and open-source intelligence performed by the policy community itself (see for example Eliot Higgins).

He has worked with graduate students and MIIS and other researchers to develop tools and provide training on tools and technology for open source intelligence.[8][9][10]

He is also an affiliate with the Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation.[11]

North KoreaEdit

Lewis has extensively written and spoken, including for media reports, on the weapons tests, development program, and missile programs of North Korea, a country covered by the East Asia Nonproliferation Program.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18]

Lewis has written specifically about North Korea's nuclear materials production; weapons design choices (including nuclear weapon size/miniaturization and use of fissile uranium or plutonium in warheads); missiles and the North Korean space program; North Korea's missile press coverage, propaganda, and misinformation. He makes frequent use of open source intelligence from satellite and press/propaganda images and stories.

On April 27, 2017, Lewis dismissed the notion, promoted by Peter Vincent Pry[19] and others, that North Korea could seriously harm the United States with an EMP weapon.[20]


One of the countries covered by the East Asia Nonproliferation Program, China has been a focus for Lewis, including his two books and monograph. His books Paper Tigers: China's Nuclear Posture (2014) and The Minimum Means of Reprisal: China's Search for Security in the Nuclear Age (2007) examine China's nuclear weapons and missiles policies. He wrote,[21] podcasted,[22] and was cited in mainstream press coverage in 2015 rebutting claims that China's adding MIRVs to its larger missiles was a dangerous escalation, arguing instead that it was a natural evolution for the Chinese older, larger missile force.[23] He has also studied and written about China's nuclear program as it relates to other powers such as India.[24]

Lewis has also written on China's conventional weapons program, including antiship and conventional ballistic missile programs and their testing of a hypervelocity weapon system.[25]



  • The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States: A Speculative Novel – Mariner Books (2018) – ISBN 978-1328573926
  • Paper Tigers: China's Nuclear Posture – Adelphi Series – Routledge (2014) – ISBN 978-1138907140
  • The Minimum Means of Reprisal: China's Search for Security in the Nuclear Age – MIT Press (2007) – ISBN 978-0262622028


  • A Place for One's Mat: China's Space Program, 1956–2003 (with Gregory Kulacki), American Academy of Arts and Sciences Occasional Paper (July 2009).[26]


Lewis has written for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Foreign Policy magazine, Jane's Intelligence Review, Nonproliferation Review and New Scientist among other journals.

Blogs and online journalsEdit

Lewis is the publisher of Arms Control Wonk blog. He additionally contributes to Foreign Policy – columnist since 2013.,[27] and to 38 North, an online journal on published by the US-Korea Institute at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.


  1. ^ "Nonproliferation & Terrorism Studies Faculty". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  2. ^ "About Us – armscontrolwonk". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  3. ^ "Jeffrey Lewis". Retrieved June 11, 2015.[non-primary source needed]
  4. ^ "Dr. Jeffrey Lewis". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  5. ^ "American Strategy Program – Nuclear Strategy & Nonproliferation Initiative". Archived from the original on February 23, 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  6. ^ "Belfer Center Home > Experts > Jeffrey G. Lewis". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  7. ^ "Jeffrey Lewis – Director – East Asia Nonproliferation Program". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  8. ^ Hanham, Melissa (February 4, 2015). "CNS Produces Workshop on Open Source Analysis for UC Berkeley". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  9. ^ "Author – Melissa Hanham". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  10. ^ Hanham, Melissa (March 4, 2015). "Hello, World!". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  11. ^ "Jeffrey Lewis – Stanford CISAC". Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  12. ^ Sang-hun, Choe; Gladstone, Rick (January 25, 2013). "North Korea turns its ire on South Korea". The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  13. ^ Gladstone, Rick; Mullany, Gerry (August 7, 2013). "Study Suggests North Korea Is Doubling Area Devoted to Uranium Enrichment". The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  14. ^ Fisher, Max (February 12, 2013). "Why it's so hard to tell if North Korea used a plutonium or (much scarier) uranium bomb". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  15. ^ "Q&A: Uranium enrichment". BBC News. September 1, 2006. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  16. ^ "North Korea's Yongbyon reactor 'nearing operation'". BBC News. September 12, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  17. ^ "N Korea 'develops Russian cruise missile'". BBC News. June 17, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  18. ^ Fifield, Anna (May 20, 2015). "North Korea says it has technology to make mini nuclear warheads". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  19. ^ "North Korea missile strike remains a real threat".
  20. ^ Brumfiel, Geoff (April 27, 2017). "The North Korean Electromagnetic Pulse Threat, Or Lack Thereof". NPR. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  21. ^ Lewis, Jeffrey (May 26, 2015). "Great, now China's got multiple warhead missiles?". Foreign Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  22. ^ Lewis, Jeffrey; Stein, Aaron (May 19, 2015). "China MIRVs some missiles". Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  23. ^ Sanger, David; Broad, William (May 16, 2015). "China Making Some Missiles More Powerful". The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  24. ^ Marcus, Jonathan (April 20, 2012). "Will India's missile test trigger arms race with China?". BBC News. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  25. ^ Lewis, Jeffrey (September 4, 2014). "Crashing Glider, Hidden Hotspring". Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  26. ^ "A Place for One's Mat: China's Space Program, 1956–2003".
  27. ^ "Author – Jeffrey Lewis". Retrieved June 11, 2015.

External linksEdit