Adam Mount


Adam Mount, Ph.D. is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists, where his work covers U.S. nuclear strategy and force structure, global nuclear politics, deterrence, and North Korea. Previously, he was a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

In 2015-16, he directed the CFR Independent Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward North Korea, a group of seventeen experts chaired by Adm. Mike Mullen and Sen. Sam Nunn. He now directs, with Andrea Berger, the FAS International Study Group on North Korea Policy, a group of twelve emerging experts from allied countries working to develop a sustainable strategy to manage a nuclear-armed North Korea.

Dr. Mount’s other writing has been published by Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, Survival, Democracy, and other outlets. He is a contributor to Axios Expert Voices and a columnist at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. His analysis is regularly cited by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, AFP, AP, and Reuters, and he has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NPR, and CNBC. He has testified before the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces.

He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from the Department of Government at Georgetown University, and a B.A. from Reed College.

Expert Info


Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @ajmount


  • U.S. nuclear strategy and force structure
  • Global nuclear politics
  • Deterrence
  • North Korea



  • Conventional Deterrence of North Korea

    The U.S.-ROK alliance must place conventional deterrence at the center of its planning to ensure that U.S. conventional forces can effectively supplement South Korea’s ability growing ability to defend itself from limited aggression. The proposed posture requires closer coordination and additional capability, a difficult but necessary step at a time when the alliance faces severe friction.

  • Air-Launched Ballistic Missiles

    In 2018, Russia and China both tested an uncommon type of missile that flew a ballistic trajectory but could be launched from an aircraft. Examining the phenomenon of air-launched ballistic missiles provides insight into not only the planning of the countries developing these systems, but also the diversity and complexity of missile systems.

  • Report of the International Study Group on North Korea Policy

  • Principles for a Progressive Defense Policy

    Like other foreign policy doctrines, progressive internationalism is grounded in a set of moral principles. Progressive internationalists believe that the United States must represent a force for good in the world — not just good as Americans see it, but a kind of good that any reasonable society could accept for itself

    Texas National Security Review, December 4, 2018

  • U.S. needs tactical shift in North Korea talks

    A shift in tactics is needed to prevent collapse and break the impasse in negotiations with North Korea. Negotiating limits on the North Korean arsenal may not lead directly to complete disarmament, but it could reduce the threat to U.S. and allied territory.

    Axios, November 8, 2018

  • With North Korea progress stalled, new course could still reduce threat

    The current tack of negotiations with North Korea is plainly inviable. At some point, Trump will likely feel betrayed or decide he has more to gain politically by reverting to threats. North Korea's capabilities will continue to develop and the risk of war will rise precipitously.

    Axios, July 10, 2018

  • To succeed with North Korea, U.S. must stand with the South

    North Korea was remarkably successful in using its negotiations to divide U.S. alliances in Northeast Asia, raising the stakes for South Korean President Moon Jae-in's White House visit in May.

    Axios, May 22, 2018

  • What we talk about when we talk about North Korean denuclearization

    Achieving a mutually-acceptable definition of key terms like “denuclearization” is the primary challenge of negotiating with North Korea, but contradictory understandings within the Trump administration itself threaten negotiations before they have formally begun.

    NK News, May 16, 2018

  • Why Kim Jong Un Came In From the Cold

    If Pyongyang tries to run out the clock, the US must be prepared to use that time to its advantage: demand strict restrictions to limit the threat to US allied territory while we pursue a more restrictive agreements.

    CNN, April 22, 2018

  • North Korea is Not Denuclearizing

    The Trump administration shouldn’t get too excited about Kim Jong Un’s pledge to limit his weapons program.

    The Atlantic, April 21, 2018

  • What is US nuclear policy, exactly?

    "Though the initial months of the NPR rollout have been uneven, the administration can still develop a clear and consistent description of its nuclear policy—and should."

    Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April 18, 2018

  • The traps Kim can spring on Trump

    Talks with North Korea present a long list possible pitfalls for the U.S. Since Kim Jong-un's offer, President Trump has exacerbated the risks by accepting the invitation outright, issuing overconfident statements and replacing the cautious Rex Tillerson with the pliant Mike Pompeo as secretary of state.

    Axios, March 14, 2018

  • On US-North Korea talks

    "If the choices are denuclearization or nothing, it’s an easy choice for Kim Jong Un: The United States will get nothing, missile advancements will continue, and the unstable military crisis will return again with a vengeance."

    The Atlantic, March 7, 2018

  • Managing a Nuclear-Armed North Korea

    Deter, Contain, Constrain, Transform: "The regrettable fact is that a nuclear-armed North Korea exists and is not being managed."

    Texas National Security Review roundtable, February 7, 2018

  • Trump's troubling nuclear plan

    The NPR "hastens the rise of a more dangerous world by accepting the reasoning of U.S. adversaries and affirmatively embracing nuclear competition."

    Foreign Affairs, February 2, 2018

  • Letting it be an arms race

    "Despite the president’s clear lack of knowledge about U.S. nuclear capabilities, the draft shows that the Pentagon is moving to translate his impulses into policy."

    The Atlantic, January 12, 2018

  • Deter, don't provoke, North Korea

    "It is not Pyongyang, but Washington, that appears determined to push this standoff into the military domain."

    CNN, October 24, 2017

  • Preventing an atmospheric nuclear test

    A North Korean test in the atmosphere is "too grave to be ignored."

    The Atlantic, September 22, 2017

  • How China Sees North Korea

    “China is prepared to keep the peace on the Korean peninsula—whether the White House likes it or not.”

    The Atlantic, August 29, 2017

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