Wilson Center Experts
Joseph P Harahan
As the Cold War drew to its close, I was hired as a public historian to document, research, and write a historical report on how the United States government was preparing for and then conducting arms control inspections under the Intermediate-Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1989. A bilateral treaty with the Soviet Union, this precedent-setting arms reduction treaty mandated the elimination of 2,700 nuclear missiles and facilities, all carried out in the presence of arms control inspection teams. Adventurous, I participated as an inspector on U.S. teams monitoring the destruction at remote, restricted military bases in the Soviet Union, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia. The book, On-Site Inspections under the INF Treaty (Washington, 1992), was translated and published in a Russian edition in 1996. No sooner had the majority of the missile eliminations been completed under the INF Treaty, than a series of new, comprehensive treaties were signed, ratified, and poised for implementation—the Conventional Arms Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE), Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty (CWC), Open Skies Treaty, and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). As the historian for the U.S. government's inspection agency, I was involved in researching, teaching, and inspecting each new treaty. A second writing project led to the publication of On-Site Inspections under the CFE Treaty (1996). Subsequently translated into Russian, it was published as an electronic book (2000). Ever adventurous, I went on inspections, and conducted interviews with military and diplomatic officers in the United States, Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Poland, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, and at NATO headquarters. Since contemporary history has many audiences, I was invited to speak on the history in Russia at the Military Academy of the General Staff, the International Division, Russian General Staff, Frunze Military Academy, and Vystral Peacekeeping Academy. In Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, Great Britain, Germany, and China I spoke on the experience of implementing these treaties at various research institutes, military academies, and conferences. Both of these research projects, and several subsequent ones, led to my current research effort of writing a comprehensive narrative history of how the governments of the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus negotiated and implemented a large-scale, multi-billion, multi-year cooperative threat reduction effort to secure and then reduce strategic nuclear weapons in order to meet START Treaty reduction quotas. In recent years, new cooperative programs have assisted in securing and eliminating chemical and biological weapons. My research and experiences have reinforced a conviction that carefully researched and vetted narrative histories of multinational arms reduction treaties and nonproliferation programs have an audience with policymakers, operational staffs, and public researchers in many nations.
B.A. in History, University of Virginia; M.A. in History, University of Richmond; Ph.D. in American History, Michigan State University
- Senior Historian, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, U.S. Department of Defense, 1998– present
- Senior Historian, On-Site Inspection Agency, U.S. Department of Defense, 1989-98
- Public Historian, Special Assistant to Chief of Air Force History, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, 1983-89
- Public Historian, History Office, Strategic Air Command, 1977-83
- Fulbright Lecturer, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy, 1975-76
- Assistant Professor, University of Richmond, 1973-75
Cooperative non-proliferation programs with Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan; international arms control treaties; post-Cold War nuclear, chemical, and biological cooperative weapons reduction programs
This book will be an international military history which narrates and analyzes how five nations-—United States, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine-—led by the United States, negotiated, defined, planned, and then implemented a multi-year, multi-billion dollar, cooperative threat reduction program to secure, and then dismantle and destroy nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, facilities, and infrastructure from 1992 to the present.
- On-Site Inspections under the CFE Treaty, co-author (Washington, 1997)
- On-Site Inspections under the INF Treaty, (Washington, 1993)
- Creating the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, coauthor (Washington, 2002)