Dr. Heather Williams Joins CSIS as Director of Project on Nuclear Issues and Senior Fellow, International Security Program

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2022: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is pleased to announce that Dr. Heather Williams, formerly a research fellow at the Project on Managing the Atom and International Security Program at Harvard University’s Belfer Center and a senior lecturer in defense studies at King’s College London, has joined CSIS as director of the Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) and a senior fellow in the International Security Program.

“Dr. Williams is an outstanding researcher who has done a wide range of first-rate, policy-relevant work on nuclear escalation, deterrence, crisis escalation, arms control, and other issues—including examining the impact of social media and emerging technologies,” said Seth G. Jones, director of the CSIS International Security Program.

Most recently, Dr. Williams was a visiting fellow with the Project on Managing the Atom in the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. She was also a senior lecturer in defense at King’s College London, teaching arms control, deterrence, and disarmament. From 2020 to 2021, Dr. Williams was a Stanton Nuclear Security fellow in the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 2018 to 2019, she served as a specialist advisor to the House of Lords International Relations Committee inquiry into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Disarmament. She previously worked at Chatham House and the Institute for Defense Analyses. Dr. Williams is an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, a senior associate fellow with the European Leadership Network, and a member of the Wilton Park Advisory Council.

Dr. Williams’s research focuses on arms control, emerging technologies, crisis escalation, and the global nuclear order. Her work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Washington Quarterly, Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, and War on the Rocks. Her recent publications include the CSIS report, Integrated Arms Control in an Era of Strategic Competition, “The Unavoidable Technology: How Artificial Intelligence Can Strengthen Nuclear Stability” in The Washington Quarterly, and “Asymmetric arms control and strategic stability: Scenarios for limiting hypersonic glide vehicles” in the Journal of Strategic Studies.

“The PONI community has been an important part of my own career progression, so it is a huge honor to join CSIS as PONI director. This is a pivotal time for nuclear weapons issues—arms control, deterrence, and disarmament—and PONI plays a crucial role by supporting early- and mid-career experts and generating new ideas and practical policy solutions,” Dr. Williams said. “I am looking forward to working with the exceptional and inspiring PONI team to advance this important work.”

Dr. Williams holds a PhD in war studies from King's College London, a master’s degree in security policy studies from the George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and Russian studies from Boston University.