NATO and Russia. North Korea and the United States. India and Pakistan. The United States and China. These tense international relationships share one thing in common: each has the potential to quickly worsen into military confrontation that could spark the use of nuclear weapons. Each is a Cuban Missile Crisis in the making.
Confronted for the first time with multiple flashpoints that could go nuclear with little or no warning, the world is in uncharted waters. To help steer us safely through these dangers, Global Zero launched the Nuclear Crisis Group, a crack team of top former nuclear commanders, diplomats, and national security experts who monitor these volatile situations and put forward actionable plans to defuse them — and prevent the use of nuclear weapons.
Ambassador Richard Burt is the U.S. chair of Global Zero. He is an accomplished U.S. diplomat with special expertise in the area of nuclear weapons. Burt successfully concluded a nuclear arms treaty as the U.S. chief negotiator in the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks with the Soviet Union in 1991. Previously, he was U.S. ambassador to Germany.
From 1977 to 1980, Burt worked in Washington as a national security correspondent for The New York Times. He earned his bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University in 1969, and his master’s degree in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1971.
Burt currently serves as managing director at McLarty Associates, which provides consulting for corporations and financial institutions worldwide on strategic planning, government issues, market access, mergers and acquisitions and political and economic risk.
Lieutenant General (ret.) Evgeny Buzhinsky is the chairman of the Russian Center for Policy Studies (PIR Center). He also serves as vice president of the Russian International Affairs Council. From 1976 to 1992, he was an officer of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. He later served in various positions in the Ministry of Defense, including head of the International Treaties Department before retiring.
Retired General James E. Cartwright served as commander of U.S. Strategic Command, before being nominated and appointed as the 8th vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s second highest military officer. In his role as vice chairman, Cartwright chaired the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, co-chaired the Defense Acquisition Board and served as a member of the National Security Council Deputies Committee, the Nuclear Weapons Council and the Missile Defense Executive Board.
Cartwright was the inaugural holder of the Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies for the Center for Strategic & International Studies. From 2011 to 2013, he was a member of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, a federal advisory committee that provides advice and counsel to the leadership of the Department on matters concerning defense policy.
Cartwright’s command assignments include: commander, United States Strategic Command (2004-2007); commanding general, First Marine Aircraft Wing (2000-2002); and deputy commanding general, Marine Forces Atlantic (1999-2000). He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in November 1971 and received his master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College and completed a fellowship with Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Honorable Thomas M. Countryman is the chairman of the board of the Arms Control Association, a think tank dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies. He served in the U.S. Foreign Service for 35 years, achieving the rank of minister-counselor and holding the positions of acting undersecretary for arms control and international security and assistant secretary for international security and nonproliferation before retiring in 2017. From 2008 to 2009, Countryman was a foreign policy advisor to the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps General James Conway. He has received several awards for his work, including the Presidential Meritorious Service award in 2007.
Retired Major General Vladimir Dvorkin is a senior advisor at the PIR Center, a prominent Russian think tank, and the Carnegie Moscow Center. He is also a chief researcher of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Earlier in his career, he served in the Strategic Rocket Forces. From 1993 to 2001, he was director of the Fourth Central Research Institute of the Russian Ministry of Defense. He supported preparations for Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) II, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) I and START II, and made a significant contribution to formulating Soviet and Russian positions at the negotiations on strategic offensive arms control and reduction.
Rear Admiral John Gower, CB OBE served as assistant chief of defence staff (Nuclear, Chemical, Biological) in the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence until his retirement from active service in December 2014. He was an active member of the Royal Navy for 36 years, spending half of those at sea and eventually commanding first the HMS Unicorn and the HMS Trafalgar. During his years of service on land, Gower mostly worked in the ministry of defense in London specializing in nuclear weapon and counter-Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear policy. He also spent time in Washington, D.C. as the assistant naval attaché at the U.K. Defence Academy. Gower held a key role the U.K. contribution t to counter the threat of Syria’s chemical weapons program from 2011 to 2014. He also represented the U.K. in senior NATO nuclear and counter-weapons of mass destruction committees. Gower currently writes on his specialist issues and is a consulting member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger is a seasoned German diplomat and chair of the Munich Security Conference, which brings high-level political and military leaders together to discuss the central security issues of our time. From 1998 to 2000, Ischinger served as deputy foreign minister of Germany. From 2006 to 2008, he was the German ambassador to the United Kingdom and, before that, the German ambassador to the United States for almost five years. His long career in the German Foreign Service gave him specific expertise in international negotiating processes, having been involved with the Bosnia Peace Talks at Dayton, Ohio and negotiations on NATO enlargement and the Kosovo crisis.
General Jehangir Karamat is a retired Pakistani military officer and diplomat. He served in combat in the 1965 and 1971 India-Pakistan wars and eventually rose to the position of chairman of the Pakistani Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee before retiring from the armed forces.
Karamat was the Pakistani ambassador to the United States from November 2004 to June 2006. After this ambassadorship, he founded a sociopolitical policy and analysis institute, Spearhead Research, which focuses on social, economic, military and political issues connected to Pakistan and Afghanistan. He also served as a commissioner on the International Commission on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament from 2009 to 2010.