Richard Speier, Class of 1958

Posted on October 5th, 20193:45 pm


Richard Speier, Class of 1958

Speier established himself as an international expert in nuclear nonproliferation, playing a major role in preserving the peace during the nuclear age. He combined an undergraduate degree in physics from Harvard with a doctorate in political science from MIT, leading to his unique career. He first helped reshape the nation’s nuclear and space programs in the White House Office of Management and Budget. He then analyzed nuclear technologies for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and spent a year at the National Defense University, co-authoring a prize-winning study, “The Bomb in Southwest Asia.” In 1982, he joined the Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan to start the Office of Nonproliferation Policy. He spent over four years working with six other governments to design, negotiate and implement an international policy to hinder the spread of missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The Secretary of Defense awarded him a Meritorious Civilian Service Medal in 1988, calling the policy of “major and lasting significance” and lauding Speier’s “immense industry, expertise, imagination, and above all unswerving tenacity of purpose.” Today 35 governments adhere to this policy. Speier continues to consult on national security for the RAND Corporation.