TranscriptNov 28, 2023
Our experts explain what US policymakers should know about deterring Russia’s and China’s nuclear threats
The fellows of Forward Defense’s Nuclear Strategy Project met at a roundtable to discuss how to deter nuclear powers Russia and China from expanding their capabilities and from giving nuclear weapons a greater role in Moscow's and Beijing's defense strategies.
Robert M. Soofer is a senior fellow in the Forward Defense practice of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, where he leads its Nuclear Strategy Project. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies, teaching courses in nuclear strategy, missile defense, and arms control. He serves as a consultant for the Sandia, Los Alamos, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories as well as the Institute for Defense Analyses.
Soofer was deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy from April 2017 to January 2021. In this capacity, he was codirector of the Nuclear Posture Review and Missile Defense Review and led their implementation; testified before Congress on nuclear and missile defense policy; led biannual nuclear staff talks with key allies; served as US representative to the NATO High Level Group for nuclear planning; and was the secretary of defense representative to the US-Russia nuclear arms control talks.
Previously, Soofer served for eight years as a professional staff member and Republican staff lead for the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces of the Senate Armed Services Committee and as strategic forces policy advisor to Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), then the Republican whip. He also was military legislative assistant to former Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) and professional staff member on the Senate Republican Policy Committee. He taught at the National War College for three years as professor of national-security policy and served for eight years in various policy and international-affairs positions with the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization/Missile Defense Agency. In 2003, he was called to active duty as a lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserve and assigned to the newly created Terrorist Threat Integration Center.
Soofer received his doctorate in international relations from the University of Southern California and is a graduate of the National War College. He was awarded the Department of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Medal and Distinguished Public Service Medal and is the author of Missile Defenses and Western European Security (Greenwood Press, 1988).