William Potter

William PotterCNS Founding Director

Monterey, CA


  • Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies
  • Founding Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS)
  • Member of the Council on Foreign Relations
  • Serves on the International Advisory Board of the Center for Policy Studies in Russia (Moscow)

Areas of Research

  • Nuclear terrorism
  • Forecasting proliferation developments


Dr. William Potter has served as a consultant to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the RAND Corporation, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

He has been a member of several committees of the National Academy of Sciences, including its Nonproliferation Panel.

He served for five years on the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters and the Board of Trustees of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research.

He has been an advisor to the delegation of Kyrgyzstan at every NPT Review Conference and Preparatory Committee meeting since 1995.



  • Principles versus Pragmatism: The Nuclear Politics of the Non-Aligned Movement (2012)
  • The Four Faces of Nuclear Terrorism (2005); Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Options for Control (2000)
  • Nuclear Profiles of the Soviet Successor States (1993)
  • Soviet Decisionmaking for Chernobyl: An Analysis of System Performance and Policy Change (1990)
  • Nuclear Power and Nonproliferation: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (1982)


  • Verification and SALT: The Challenge of Strategic Deception (1980)
  • Verification and Arms Control (1985), and International Nuclear Trade and Nonproliferation (1990)


  • Forecasting Nuclear Nonproliferation in the 21st Century (2 volumes, 2010)
  • Engaging China and Russia on Nuclear Disarmament (2009)
  • The Global Politics of Combating Nuclear Terrorism: A Supply Side Approach (2009)
  • Dangerous Weapons, Desperate States (1999)
  • Dismantling the Cold War: U.S. and NIS Perspectives on the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (1997)
  • Soviet Decisionmaking for National Security (1984)
  • The Nuclear Suppliers and Nonproliferation (1985
  • Continuity and Change in Soviet-East European Relations (1989)
  • International Missile Bazaar: The New Suppliers’ Network (1994)

Dr. Potter has contributed chapters and articles to over 120 scholarly books and journals.