“It was something of a surprise to win, but the award supports our belief that this research is original, rigorous and genuinely contributes to advancing thinking in the field.”
Our article in Contemporary Security Policy explores the nature of ‘nuclear hedging’, a concept that has received little attention to date in the literature on proliferation behavior. Nuclear hedging involves advancing a nuclear program to a position where weapons could be acquired relatively quickly, should a political decision be taken to do so. In our research, we are keen to understand the nuances of this approach, the questions and types of evidence required to judge whether a state is engaged in a nuclear hedging strategy. In the article, we set out an analytical framework within which the behavior of a state suspected of hedging can be considered, and applied this to the case of Iran.
Writing on the concept of nuclear hedging and its application to the Iranian case was a challenging process. This is a subtle form of proliferation behavior that is not easily characterized, and our goal of testing our analysis against the fluid and rapidly changing Iranian context only added to the challenge. This said, we are confident that our dissection of hedging stands up to scrutiny.
Contemporary Security Policy seemed like an excellent fit for our piece. The journal combines academic rigor with policy-relevance, exactly the perspective we adopted in our writing, and seeks to engage with the latest debates in security policy. We were, of course, aware of the journal’s prestigious Bernard Brodie prize and did hope our piece might be considered. It was something of a surprise to win, but the award supports our belief that this research is original, rigorous and genuinely contributes to advancing thinking in the field.
Wyn Bowen is Professor of Non-proliferation and International Security and Head of department/Dean of Academic Studies at the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London, located at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Defence Academy of the UK. He is author of The Politics of Ballistic Missile Non-Proliferation (Macmillan, 2000), Libya and Nuclear Proliferation (Routledge, 2006), and The Global Partnership Against WMD (Routledge, 2011).
Matthew Moran is Senior Lecturer in International Security in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. He also serves as Deputy Director (Research Development) of the Centre for Science and Security Studies. He is author of Exploring Regional Responses to a Nuclear Iran: Nuclear Dominoes? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).