General James Cartwright (ret.) Talks Strategic Deterrence at Nunn School

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On October 16, 2014 General James Cartwright (United States Marine Corps, ret), the eighth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Georgia Tech to discuss strategic deterrence and other international security issues. His visit was hosted by the Nunn School’s Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy (CISTP).


At the dinner, General Cartwright engaged a small group of faculty and students in a conversation on his experience as a military commander, as well as his thoughts on contemporary security issues. This event was distinguished by its lively, informal discussion on an eclectic range of topics.


The next morning General Cartwright participated in a professional development session where he discussed his substantive interests, as well as how international security scholars can enhance the policy relevance of their research.   This session was attended by Nunn School graduate students. It was also broadcast as a live webinar to the Program on Strategic Stability Evaluation (POSSE) group. Sponsored by successive grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, POSSE is building a global network of leading and emerging scholars of nuclear and international security.  POSSE is co-directed by Professor Adam N. Stulberg (INTA/CISTP) and Professor William C. Potter (James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies). The session’s virtual format allowed POSSE members from Russia, China, and other parts of the U.S. to engage General Cartwright on a range of issues, including deterrence policy, U.S.-Russian relations, and career planning.


In his public talk, General Cartwright described his experience as Vice Chairman during the simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also spoke in depth on the current state of nuclear security, claiming that the changing strategic landscape has shifted the U.S. away from nuclear weapons and toward options like cyber warfare and directed energy. He held that these technologies, which offer a far more graduated approach than nuclear weapons do, are the wave of the future. General Cartwright concluded his talk with a Q&A session, where he answered questions ranging from the future of ISIS to the state of affairs in the modern U.S. Navy.


General Cartwright served as the eighth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011.  A flight officer and aviator by training, General Cartwright has held numerous command billets - including Commander, United States Strategic Command, from 2004 to 2007.He is currently the inaugural holder of the Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). General Cartwright serves as a member of Raytheon Company's Board of Directors, a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center, and as a defense consultant for ABC News.


General Cartwright’s visit was made possible by the generosity of the General Ray Davis Endowment.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Jenilee Trew
  • Created: 11/03/2014
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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