Graham T. Allison is the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He was Director of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs from 1995 until July 2017. Allison is a leading analyst of U.S. national security and defense policy with a special interest in nuclear weapons, terrorism, and decisionmaking. As Assistant Secretary of Defense in the first Clinton Administration, Dr. Allison received the Defense Department’s highest civilian award, the Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, for “reshaping relations with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan to reduce the former Soviet nuclear arsenal.”
His latest book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in May 2017. In 2013 he authored Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States and the World, co-authored with Robert Blackwill. His book Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, now in its third printing, was selected by the New York Times as one of the “100 most notable books of 2004.” Allison’s first book, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (1971), was released in an updated and revised second edition (1999) and ranks among the all-time bestsellers with more than 450,000 copies in print.
Allison formerly served as Special Advisor to the Secretary of Defense under President Reagan. He has the sole distinction of having twice been awarded the Department of Defense’s highest civilian award, the Distinguished Public Service Medal, first by Secretary Cap Weinberger and second by Secretary Bill Perry. He served as a member of the Defense Policy Board for Secretaries Weinberger, Carlucci, Cheney, Aspin, Perry, Cohen, and Carter. He currently serves on the Advisory boards of the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and the Director of the CIA.
Dr. Allison was educated at Davidson College; Harvard College (B.A.,magna cum laude, in History); Oxford University (B.A. and M.A., First Class Honors in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics); and Harvard University (Ph.D. in Political Science).