Press release

Centre for International Security receives major grant from Stanton Foundation for research project on nuclear security

The cooperation marks the foundation’s first foray into Europe.

Berlin, 01 September 2020 – The Hertie School’s Centre for International Security will receive a major grant from the US-based Stanton Foundation for the research project “Understanding Assurance, Deterrence, and Potential Nuclear Escalation in Europe.” It is the first time the foundation has approved a large grant of up to €684,000 for a project in Europe. The main goal of the project is to shed new light on the role of nuclear weapons for Europe security, applying a distinctly European perspective.

“Nuclear security has, unfortunately, been neglected for too long in Europe. Against the backdrop of fraying nuclear arms control, modernisation plans for nuclear arsenals and proliferations risks, it is high time for Europeans to think more carefully about the nuclear security challenges of today and tomorrow,” Wolfgang Ischinger, the founding director of the Centre for International Security (CIS) said. “I am very grateful to the Stanton Foundation, a leading funder in this field, for supporting the Hertie School in its endeavour to build a European hub for research, teaching and outreach on nuclear security.”

“The Stanton Foundation shares Ambassador Ischinger’s view that the amplification of the European voice is a necessity if progress is to be made in our understanding of this crucial issue. The Foundation is most appreciative of his leadership at CIS and the outstanding team he has assembled to study today’s pressing nuclear security issues,” said Stephen Kidder, Counselor to the Foundation.

The project will start in September 2020, building on the Centre’s recent work on the future role of non-strategic nuclear weapons for NATO, funded by an introductory grant from the Stanton Foundation. Over the course of three years, the Centre aims to build a network of Europe’s next generation of nuclear security researchers and bring them together during an annual conference. At the same time, it will foster an evidence-based debate on nuclear security in Germany and Europe, in close collaboration with the Munich Security Conference and other partners. These issues will also become an integral part of the curriculum of the Hertie School’s Master of International Affairs programme.

The project spans across several research areas. It asks timely questions, including:

1.    What is the role of (foreign deployed) nuclear weapons, if any, in assuring NATO allies that their security is protected? Conversely, do such weapons impair “burden sharing”? (lead: Julian Wucherpfennig, Professor of International Affairs and Security at the Hertie School)

2.    Can NATO square the circle and maintain allied cohesion and successfully deter adversaries in the post-INF era? What are concrete challenges and solutions? (lead: Tobias Bunde, postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for International Security)

3.    What should Europe expect if NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangement breaks down and the U.S. renounces its nuclear guarantee? What are realistic alternative options for European nuclear posture and deterrence (lead: Tobias Bunde and Marina Henke, Professor of International Relations at the Hertie School)

4.    Could a conventional skirmish between NATO and Russia advertently or inadvertently prompt Russian nuclear escalation, and if so, how and under what conditions? (lead: Marina Henke)
Together, these questions are both theoretically and empirically relevant, and are at the heart of current European nuclear security.

Find more information about the project here.

The Centre for International Security at the Hertie School aims to advance our understanding of the complex security challenges of the 21st century, particularly in Germany and Europe.

The Stanton Foundation is a US-based private foundation established by Frank Stanton, a long-time president of Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and an adviser on nuclear issues to President Eisenhower in the 1950's. One of its key areas of focus is to support policy research in international security with a special emphasis on nuclear security.

The Hertie School in Berlin prepares exceptional students for leadership positions in government, business, and civil society. The school offers master’s programmes, executive education and doctoral programmes, distinguished by interdisciplinary and practice-oriented teaching, as well as outstanding research. Its extensive international network positions it as an ambassador of good governance, characterised by public debate and engagement. The school was founded in 2004 by the Hertie Foundation, which remains its major funder. The Hertie School is accredited by the state and the German Science Council.