Leonard S. Spector

Leonard Spector

CNS Distinguished Fellow
Washington DC Office

[email protected]
Washington DC


Prior to joining CNS, from 1997 to 2001, Mr. Leonard Spector served as Assistant Deputy Administrator for Arms Control and Nonproliferation at the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

His principal responsibilities at the NNSA included development and implementation of:

  • Arms control and nonproliferation policy with respect to international treaties
  • US domestic and multilateral export controls
  • Inspection and technical cooperation activities of the International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Civilian nuclear activities in the United States and abroad
  • Initiatives in regions of proliferation concern, including the canning of plutonium-bearing spent nuclear fuel in North Korea and Kazakhstan
  • Transparency provisions of bilateral agreements with Russia covering the purchase of weapons-grade uranium and the cessation of plutonium production

Prior to his service at the NNSA, Mr. Spector directed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he established the Program on Post-Soviet Nuclear Affairs at the Carnegie Moscow Center and organized one of the leading annual international conferences on non-proliferation issues. Earlier in his career, Mr. Spector served as Chief Counsel to the Senate Energy and Nonproliferation Subcommittee and as a Special Counsel at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Mr. Spector is the author or co-author of six books and numerous articles on nonproliferation and comments frequently on this subject in the media. His current research focuses on the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria, mechanisms for restraining Iran’s nuclear program, and tools to prevent nuclear commodity smuggling.

While with CNS from late 2005 to April 2008, Mr. Spector served as Editor-in-Chief of the monthly web journal WMD Insights and later led the Center’s Project on Nonproliferation Policy and Law. His most recent works include an in-depth study, co-authored with Egle Murauskaite, “Combatting Nuclear Commodity Smuggling: A System of Systems,” CNS Occasional Paper 20, November 2014, and co-editing with William Potter, Matthew Bunn, and Martin Malin, Preventing Black-Market Trade in Nuclear-Related Technologies (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). He is currently completing a report on outlawing state-sponsored illicit nuclear procure networks and pursuing recovery of purloined nuclear goods.


CNS Work

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  • Tracking Nuclear Proliferation 1995: A Guide in Maps and Charts (with Mark McDonough and Evan Medeiros, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1995)
  • Nuclear Ambitions: The Spread of Nuclear Weapons, 1989-1990 (Westview Press, 1990)
  • The Undeclared Bomb: The Spread of Nuclear Weapons, 1987-1988 (Harper Business 1990)