Vipin Narang, an MIT professor of political science who specializes in nuclear security, was named as U.S. principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy on March 28. Narang will work as deputy to Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy John Plumb.
“I’m honored to work with this outstanding team at the DoD during a critical moment in our nation’s security efforts,” Narang said in a brief interview.
“I look forward to contributing to the department’s efforts however I can,” he added.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy is responsible for inter-agency coordination and international engagement on space policy and strategy, which includes nuclear, cyber, and missile defense policy.
“Through his extensive research, Vipin is the country’s leading scholar of nuclear strategy and proliferation,” says M. Taylor Fravel, Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and director of the Security Studies Program.
Narang holds the title of Frank Stanton Professor of Nuclear Security and Political Science. He is a professor in the Department of Political Science, and is affiliated with MIT’s Security Studies Program under the Center for International Studies.
David A. Singer, the Raphael Dorman-Helen Starbuck professor and head of MIT’s Department of Political Science, applauded the Department of Defense’s choice on Tuesday morning.
“Vipin is level-headed, collaborative, and whip-smart. I can think of no better person to help guide DoD policy in this crucial domain,” he said.
Narang will take a public service leave of absence from his position as the Frank Stanton Professor of Nuclear Security and Political Science at MIT while working at the DoD.
“I’m very grateful to MIT for being so supportive when this opportunity arose,” Narang said. “The Department of Political Science, SSP, and the broader MIT administration have all been incredibly supportive.”
Narang is set to work just outside Washington at the Pentagon; his wife, Sana Aiyar, will stay in the Boston area with their two small children. Aiyar is also a professor at MIT, where she is a historian of modern south Asian.
“This is going to be a huge lift for her,” Narang said. “I’m really grateful to my wife, and my family, for being super supportive when this opportunity came up.”
Narang’s first book, “Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era” (Princeton University Press, 2014), on the deterrence strategies of regional nuclear powers won the 2015 ISA International Security Studies Section Best Book Award. His second book, “Seeking the Bomb: Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation” (Princeton University Press), was published in early 2022. His work has appeared in a variety of outlets including International Security, Journal of Conflict Resolution, The Washington Quarterly, International Organization, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. He was the recipient of the 2020 ISSS Emerging Scholar Award from the International Studies Association awarded to the scholar who “had made the most significant contribution to the field of security studies.”
He received his PhD from the Department of Government at Harvard University in 2010. He holds a BS and MS in chemical engineering with distinction from Stanford University and an MPhil with distinction in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where he studied on a Marshall Scholarship. He has been a fellow at Harvard University’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, a predoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a Stanton junior faculty fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. His research interests include nuclear proliferation and strategy, North Korea’s nuclear weapons, South Asian security, and general security studies.
Original Post: news.mit.edu
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