Benjamin Loehrke is the policy program officer for nuclear policy at the Stanley Foundation. He previously worked at Ploughshares Fund, an international security foundation, where he designed advocacy strategy and coordinated networks of experts working to promote policies that prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and reduce global nuclear arsenals. His areas of expertise include arms control, nonproliferation, nuclear weapons strategy, Iran’s nuclear program, and defense budgeting.
He earned his master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland with a focus on international security and economic policy. Ben is a proud Hoosier and graduate of Indiana University.
His writing has appeared in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Roll Call, and The Huffington Post.
What do you do at the foundation and how long have you been here?
As the program officer for nuclear security, I am responsible for foundation programming that promotes international cooperation to secure or eliminate nuclear weapons-usable materials. Along with substantive expertise, I bring to this effort my experience in advocacy strategy design and coalition management. I joined the Stanley Foundation in April 2016.
What do you like most about your job?
I believe that influencing policy change requires collaboration, coalition building, and bringing together diverse perspectives and capabilities toward shared goals. The Stanley Foundation’s unique vision and position in the field provide a strong platform for such efforts. It grants me the opportunity to work with brilliant and talented people. And hopefully make the world a little bit safer.
Where are you from?
I’m from a small town in northern Indiana, a place far removed from conversations about international security policy. But I have found that a lot of folks in this field also hail from the Midwest. Our humble sensibilities can be a real asset, so long as we can set aside college rivalries (Go Hoosiers!).
What are your hobbies?
Being a lifelong Cubs fan really helps develop your physical and emotional endurance. I put those to good use as a distance runner and triathlete. I also enjoy long hikes and backpacking whenever I can escape to the woods. I fuel these hobbies with as much interesting food as I can find or cook.
“Philanthropy as the Backbone for Collective Impact”
Stanford Social Innovation Review
“A Nuke by Any Other Name”
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
"Chain Reaction: How the Media Misread the IAEA’s Report on Iran"
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
"The Avengers’ Nuclear Villain"
The Huffington Post
The use of nuclear weapons is an existential threat to human survival and wellbeing. As the world enters a new a period of rapid technological development, emerging technologies are challenging long-held assumptions and practices—about deterrence, disarmament, and nonproliferation—for how to best avoid the use of nuclear weapons through multilateral cooperation.
If nuclear governance regimes and norms do not become more adaptable to this accelerating pace of change, emerging technologies will disrupt or render obsolete existing institutions that control and mitigate the risks of nuclear weapons.
To reduce this risk of nuclear use, the Stanley Foundation works to help global governance and technology development co-evolve in ways that manage or leverage the disruptive effects of emerging technologies on strategic stability, nonproliferation, and disarmament. Our efforts focus on:
- Helping establish shared definitions of the risks and opportunities that emerging technologies pose for strategic stability, nonproliferation, and disarmament.
- Informing and support existing nuclear governance institutions as they adapt to be more responsive to the risks of emerging technologies.
- Engendering collective responsibility among stakeholders for managing the disruptive effects of emerging technologies.
- Identifying and promoting innovative ways that emerging technologies can be applied to improve strategic stability, strengthen nonproliferation, and promote disarmament.
Building on the Stanley Foundation’s work on nuclear arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation issues over the last six decades, today’s nuclear policy programming draws on our strengths as a convener of key stakeholders, including international organizations, national governments, civil society, and industry. We commission expert analysis in order to encourage innovative policy ideas and actively engage the media on nuclear policy issues.