Charles D. Ferguson


Charles D. Ferguson has been the president of the Federation of American Scientists since January 1, 2010. From February 1998 to August 2000, Dr. Ferguson worked for FAS on nuclear proliferation and arms control issues as a senior research analyst.

Asked about his decision to accept the position, Dr. Ferguson said, “I feel profoundly honored to be asked to work with FAS’s immensely talented and dedicated staff and membership. I am committed to leading FAS to become the preeminent non-governmental organization devoted to science and security.”

At the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Dr. Ferguson served as the project director of the Independent Task Force on U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy, chaired by William J. Perry and Brent Scowcroft, in addition to his work at CFR where he specialized in arms control, climate change, energy policy, and nuclear and radiological terrorism.

Previously, from 2002 to 2004, Dr. Ferguson had been with the Monterey Institute’s Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) as its scientist-in-residence. At CNS, he co-authored the book The Four Faces of Nuclear Terrorism and was also lead author of the award-winning report “Commercial Radioactive Sources: Surveying the Security Risks,” which was published in January 2003 and was one of the first post-9/11 reports to assess the radiological dispersal device, or “dirty bomb,” threat. This report won the 2003 Robert S. Landauer Lecture Award from the Health Physics Society.

Dr. Ferguson also has consulted with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and the National Nuclear Security Administration. From 2000 to 2002, he served as a physical scientist in the Office of the Senior Coordinator for Nuclear Safety at the U.S. Department of State, where he helped develop U.S. government policies on nuclear safety and security issues.

After graduating with distinction from the United States Naval Academy, he served as an officer on a fleet ballistic missile submarine and studied nuclear engineering at the Naval Nuclear Power School.

Dr. Ferguson has written numerous articles on energy policy, missile defense, nuclear arms control, nuclear energy, nuclear proliferation, and nuclear terrorism. He has also authored or coauthored several peer-reviewed scientific articles and published in top physics journals. And in October 2008, he was named by Wired magazine as one of the “Fifteen People the Next President Should Listen To.”

From June 2011 to October 2013, he served as Co-Chairman of the U.S.-Japan Nuclear Working Group, organized by the Mansfield Foundation, FAS, and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. In May 2011, his book Nuclear Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know was published by Oxford University Press. In 2013, he was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society for his work in educating the public and policy makers about nuclear issues.

Dr. Ferguson received his undergraduate degree in physics from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, also in physics, from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Expert Info


Phone: 202-454-4699
Twitter: @cdfergusonII


  • Nuclear proliferation
  • Arms control
  • Nuclear energy
  • Nuclear and radiological terrorism


  • Ph.D., Physics, Boston University
  • MA, Physics, Boston University
  • BS, Physics, United States Naval Academy


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