Anne is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Cardiff University in Wales, UK. Since earning her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2010, she has held academic fellowships at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Relations at Monterey, and the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zürich. In 2013-2014, she worked for the US Congress as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, first as a National Security Fellow in the office of Senator Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) and then at the Congressional Research Service. Her research interests, located at the nexus of international relations and science and technology studies, include nuclear deterrence, disarmament and nonproliferation, cybersecurity, the evolution of military strategy and tactics, and women in combat. Learn more about Anne by watching her introduction video: https://youtu.be/DblWo1ywa7E
What is your area of expertise?
Are you interested in mentoring high school or college students, or both?
How did you become interested in this area?
I became interested in nuclear issues because they raise interesting questions on three different levels: policy, theory, and epistemology. First, they raise knotty policy problems that sit at the intersection of technology and politics. Second, nuclear weapons creates all sorts of problems for theories of international relations, and raise interesting questions about the nature of power and its relationship to violence. Finally, they confront humans with epistemological questions about the nature of existence and what it means to be able to destroy life on earth as we know it. The multi-layered complexity of nuclear issues creates opportunities for me to work at the intersection of academia and policy, with the potential for my scholarship to have real-world impacts.
What was your career path to get here?
I pursued a PhD in Political Science and then held postdocs that gave me specialized access to policymakers in the nuclear field.
Why should the public care?
Nuclear strategy and nonproliferation is an issue that impacts all of us.
What is a current issue or trend that concerns you?
The future of the Nonproliferation Regime.
What themes or topics would you be interested in lecturing or discussing with a class?
This online teaching resource, created using the open-source software Xerte, prepared by Dr. Anne Harrington, contains informational slides, additional videos, and Dr. Harrington's video lecture. It is a comprehensive tool to familiarize students with issues like the feminist position on nuclear weapons, non-violent resistance to nuclear weapons, and the feminist critique of technostrategic language. Besides the offered explainer videos and slides, it also includes short online quizzes for students to test their reading comprehension.
This PowerPoint introduces students to the history of early warning systems in nuclear command and control and the challenges associated with implementing them. It emphasizes the trade-off between enhancing the credibility of deterrence through early warning systems and the inherent limitations on the safety and reliability of those systems. Drawing on Charles Perrow’s concepts of ‘normal accidents’ it makes the case that many nuclear technologies are examples of tightly coupled complex systems in which redundancy increases the likelihood of accident. As an example, students are introduced to the case of a Soviet early warning system that produced a false alarm. This lecture pairs well with the Launch on Warning: A Nuclear Crisis Decision Making Exercise.
This online teaching resource, created using the open-source software Xerte, introduces students to the main themes in the debate about nuclear nonproliferation. It is intended to set the stage for the recommended readings by introducing students to different explanations for proliferation. It includes a video of Scott Sagan discussing his article, "Why do states build nuclear weapons?" It then reframes the puzzle. Instead of looking at why states proliferate, it asks why proliferation has fallen so short of early predictions. It concludes with a short round-up quiz based on the proposed readings.
– Scott Sagan, “Three Models in Search of Bomb” International Security, Vol. 21, No. 3. (Winter, 1996-1997), pp. 54-86.
– Jacques Hymans, “The Threat of Nuclear Proliferation: Perception and Reality,” Ethics and International Affairs (Fall 2013), pp. 281-98.
– Shampa Biswas, Nuclear Desire (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014)
–Michel Smetana, Nuclear Deviance: Stigma Politics and the Rules of the Nonproliferation Game, (Springer, 2019).
This online module, created using the open source tool Xerte, introduces students to the policy distinction between counterproliferation and nonproliferation. Introduced into US policy after the 9/11 attacks by the George W. Bush administration, counterproliferation eschewed multilateral diplomacy in favor of active and passive measures to prevent proliferation and attack. These materials were originally designed to accompany a live zoom session with one of Highly NRiched’s mentors, Ms. Shirley Johnson, a retired International Atomic Energy Agency inspector, but they can be presented as a free standing resource.
– Weichselbraun, Anna. “From Accountants to Detectives: How Nuclear Safeguards Inspectors Make Knowledge at the International Atomic Energy Agency.” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 43, no. 1 (May 2020): 120–35. https://doi.org/10.1111/plar.12346.
– Rebecca Johnson, “’Do as I say, Not as I do’ from Nonproliferation to Counterproliferation,” in Arms Control After Iraq, United Nations University, 2006, pp. 57-80.
– Brad Roberts, “Proliferation and Nonproliferation in the 1990s: Looking for the Right Lessons” The Nonproliferation Review (Fall 1999)
This is an online module created using open source Xerte software that includes short video lectures and informational slides. Students will learn the issues that lead to the negotiation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, what other options the United States considered, and the main features of the agreement that was reached as articulated in the treaty.
This online lecture, prepared using the open source software Xerte, introduces students to the technical foundations of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. The first half of this online resource covers the basics of nuclear technology, from the discovery of the atom to the two technical pathways states can use to generate fissile materials for a nuclear weapon. This information is intended to support and complement a broader understanding of the political origins of the regime, which students learn about through suggested readings.
– Elisabeth Roehrlich (2016) The Cold War, the developing world, and the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), 1953–1957, Cold War History, 16:2, 195-212, DOI: 10.1080/14682745.2015.1129607
– Special Issue of the International History Review: The Origins of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime Edited by Roland Popp & Andreas Wenger, vol 36, 2014, significantly articles by Swango, Krige, Burr & Hilfrich.
– Albert Wohlstetter (1961) Nuclear Sharing: Nato and the N+1 Country, Foreign Affairs 39 (3).
This online lecture made with the open-source software xerte, teaches students about the evolution of ideas about deterrence and arms control. It opens with an introduction to a core concept within nuclear deterrence and arms control discourse: strategic stability. It then describes some critiques of this approach, focusing on Carol Cohn’s ethnographic study of the technostrategic discourse used by arms control experts. It includes xerte features to help students test their knowledge including a quiz and matching game.
This PowerPoint presentation introduces students to a fundamental tension that exists between the benefits of relying on cyber technologies to improve nuclear capabilities and the potential weapon vulnerabilities that cyber technologies introduce. It focuses on two aspects of the nuclear enterprise to illustrate this tension: modernizing nuclear command and control infrastructure by replacing outdated digital technology, and the reliance on simulations carried out via supercomputer (rather than physical tests) to certify the reliability of US nuclear warheads. Following Andrew Futter, this lecture makes the case that cyber technologies enhance the threat of espionage and spoofing by presenting new ways into the systems. As examples, it highlights the first instance of cyber espionage in 1986 and Israeli spoofing of Syrian air defense systems in 2007.
This PowerPoint presentation familiarizes students with the development of contemporary technologies at the nuclear/cyber nexus, and raises questions about how cross-domain interactions will alter the future of warfare. Focusing on the case of Stuxnet, malware that targeted Iran’s nuclear enrichment capability, it introduces students to the nuclear fuel cycle and describes potential vulnerabilities to cyber attack.
This PowerPoint presentation familiarizes students with cyber weapons including malware, botnets, and DDoS attacks. It describes possible targets and vectors of cyber attacks, and introduces students to debates about how best to understand the nature of cyber threats. Using the example of Russian-backed cyber attacks on Estonia as a case study, it discusses what analogies best describe this new realm of international interaction. Are cyber attacks better understood through the lens of nuclear deterrence? Or are analogies to the biological domain more appropriate? The lecture explores similarities across domains and common objections to the analogy between nuclear and cyber weapons.