Nonproliferation Expert Schools Hill Aides on the Danger of Nuclear Annihilation

A Congressional Quarterly profile that labels NPEC Executive Director Henry Sokolski as a key Washington "Influencer," and profiles his teaching of the NPEC Public Policy Fellowship on Capitol Hill.  

Feb 05, 2018
AUTHOR: Rachel Oswald


A Teacher of How to Avoid Annihilation 
Henry Sokolski: Preaches the Gospel of Nuclear Nonproliferation

  By Rachel Oswald


A former top nuclear nonproliferation figure at the Pentagon during the George Bush administration, Sokolski has held multiple senior positions on Capitol Hill and been a member of several blue-ribbon national security commissions. But his greatest pride and enjoyment is in the work he does now, running a graduate-level course for young and mid-career professionals working on Capitol Hill, in the federal government, at foreign embassies and in journalism.

“I think it’s the most enjoyable thing,” says Sokolski about educating a new generation of policy professionals on the risks of nuclear proliferation. “It’s a terrific thing. . . . To teach people who are expressing an interest, who are already in one form or another of public service, I can’t think of a more prestigious opportunity.”

Sokolski began offering his public policy fellowship, which is funded by vaious foundations, in 2013 but says he really began teaching variations of the course 40 years ago at the University of Chicago. As he has tinkered with the course over the years and added more complex material to it on topics like nuclear fission and bomb design, Sokolski says he’s pleased it hasn’t scared away applicants. “They keep coming,” he chortles.

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