News + Media

AQ Khan headshot with him holding his arm up waving

In the News

October 10, 2021

Thief, traitor, smuggler, scammer: How the west remembers AQ Khan

Chidanand RajghattaThe Times of India

Quoted: "I would submit his greatest accomplishment was in fact convincing everyone that he was actually a nuclear scientist when in fact he was just the world's most dangerous and brazen smuggler," Vipin Narang, Professor of Nuclear Security at MIT observed...

US Navy Submarine partially submerged under water, people walking on top of it

In the News

October 8, 2021

Here's what we can gather about the US nuclear attack submarine collision in the South China Sea

Hannah JoseABC News

Quoted: Vipin Narang, a professor of nuclear security and political science at MIT, says we shouldn't hold our breath when it comes to the USS Connecticut.  "It's totally unclear what hit it," he said.  When asked about the possibility of it hitting an enemy submarine, he said he doubts we will ever know. "We likely won't know for sure for a while, if ever, on this one," Dr Narang said.  "Not sure why we heard about this one — sometimes the damage is extensive enough that it's hard to hide," Dr Narang said.

Military helicopters carrying a Taiwan flag fly near the Taipei 101 building as part of a rehearsal ahead of a Double Tenth Day celebration in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on Tuesday. Photo by Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Reuters Connect

In the News

October 6, 2021

How close did Chinese warplanes really get to Taiwan?

Fred KaplanSlate

Quoted:  M Taylor Fravel, an expert on China’s military and the director of MIT’s Security Studies Program, said in a phone conversation Tuesday, “These planes are never on a vector to intrude into Taiwan’s airspace.” MIT’s Fravel estimates that, since that trip, Chinese planes have flown over Taiwan’s zone around 20 days each month. They have also flown over Japan’s ADIZ with some regularity. In this sense, as in many others, Beijing is an equal-opportunity exploiter of rivals’ openings. However, Fravel emphasizes, these planes have never flown over Taiwan’s actual airspace. Chinese President Xi Jinping and his generals may be haughty, but they don’t appear to be reckless.

Military helicopters, one trailing a Taiwan flag, rehearse for Taiwanese national day celebrations. Photograph: Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMA Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock

In the News

October 5, 2021

Taiwan and China: line that Biden must tread is finer than ever

Julian BorgerThe Guardian

Quoted: “It’s absolutely unprecedented in the modern history of these flights that China has run into Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone,” said Taylor Fravel, the director of the security studies programme at MIT. “Each day breaks the preceding record for the total number of flights on a single day.”...“If we were back where we were with Taiwan 10 or 15 years ago with a very sort of active independence-oriented president and that precipitated a conflict across the strait, I’m not sure the United States would necessarily come to Taiwan’s aid in the first instance,” Fravel said. “It would depend on how it played out. But the fundamental US goal is to maintain stability across the strait and to prevent a conflict from occurring.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, September 2019 Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Analysis + Opinion

September 30, 2021

Why conservatives turned on the US military

Conservative American pundits and politicians have found a surprising new punching bag: the “woke” US military. “Anti-American indoctrination [is] seeping into parts of our military,” Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, railed in a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee in June. “Holy crap,” Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, tweeted in May in response to a recruitment ad showcasing the US Army’s diversity. “Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea.”​

Mariya Grinberg

In the News

September 29, 2021

Mariya Grinberg seeks clarity in jargon

Christopher BurnsSecurity Studies Program

Mariya Grinberg aims to create clear definitions within IR theory, and to ensure definition is understood within different contexts. In her most recent project, she’s focused on the field’s shared understanding of “decline” in the context of nation-states.

hypersonic missile Hwasong-8

In the News

September 29, 2021

North Korea tested a hypersonic missile. Here’s why it matters

William GalloVOA

Quoted:   That feature may allow it to be attached to much bigger missiles than the KN-23, says Vipin Narang, a nuclear and defense specialist at MIT.  “This atop a mobile solid fuel (intercontinental ballistic missile) would pose a big problem for the US — it could be hard to find, and the warhead difficult to intercept by homeland defenses,” Narang told VOA.  The development means North Korea would be able to fuel missiles in a factory, seal them hermetically in canisters, and store them so that they can be moved out quickly and launched promptly, Narang says.  “They have so many liquid fuel missiles. Now they may not take hours to fuel in the open where they are vulnerable. Big leap in survivability and promptness,” he added.

A US soldier in the Pesh valley, Afghanistan, August 2009

Analysis + Opinion

September 29, 2021

Beyond forever war

After years of hopeful delusions that the era of jihadi terrorism was past, it is indeed time for US policymakers to refocus on the threat. But returning to the fearfulness and hyperventilation that plagued the decade and a half before Trump is not the way to do it.

South Korea’s military said North Korea fired an “unidentified projectile” off its east coast on Sept. 28. (Reuters)

In the News

September 28, 2021

North Korea fires short-range missile eastward into sea, South Korean military says

Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Andrew JeongThe Washington Post

Quoted: The September tests “are consistent with what we would expect for a maturing nuclear power seeking survivability and penetrability,” said Vipin Narang, a nuclear security expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Candidates to lead the Liberal Democratic Party at a debate in Tokyo this month.Credit...Pool photo by Eugene Hoshiko

In the News

September 28, 2021

Why the governing party election is the main event in Japan

Motoko RichThe New York Times

Quoted: Independents don’t see much point in voting. “They’re not going to be mobilized if the opposition doesn’t have something to offer them,” said Richard Samuels, a Japan specialist who directs the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.