Could a Rogue Billionaire Make a Nuclear Weapon?


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I first learned of a secretive Pentagon-funded study about rogue nuclear entrepreneurs more than five years ago from Stephen Lukasik, a former head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. We were talking about the Office of Net Assessment, the long-term analysis division of the Pentagon, famous in Washington policy circles for its predictions about the Soviet Union’s military capabilities and then later China’s rise. Lukasik mentioned that he had led several studies for the office, including one that looked at whether a private company or wealthy entrepreneur could produce nuclear weapons. “We worked out what a private organization would...