Thayer, Bradley A.

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Thayer, Bradley A.

PERSONAL:

Education: University of Chicago, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, Missouri State University, 9302 Lee Hwy., Ste. 760, Fairfax, VA 22031. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Missouri State University, Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, Fairfax, VA, associate professor of political science. Previously taught at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; University of Minnesota, Duluth; and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA, as a fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

WRITINGS:

(With Richard A. Falkenrath and Robert D. Newman) America's Achilles' Heel: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Terrorism and Covert Attack, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.

Darwin and International Relations: On the Evolutionary Origins of War and Ethnic Conflict, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2004.

(Editor) American National Security Policy: Essays in Honor of William R. Van Cleave, National Institute Press (Fairfax, VA), 2007.

(With Christopher Layne) American Empire: A Debate, Routledge (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer and educator Bradley A. Thayer earned his doctorate from the University of Chicago. He has taught at a number of institutions, including Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire; the University of Minnesota, in Duluth; and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he served as a fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. More recently, Thayer has been an associate professor of political science at the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies of Missouri State University, located in Fairfax, Virginia. Thayer's academic and research interests include a wide range of topics having to do with international defense and security issues, such as information warfare, nuclear proliferation and its causes and potential hazards, the role of ethnic conflict in the origins of war, terrorism, and the national security policies of the United States. Thayer is the author of a number of books, including America's Achilles' Heel: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Terrorism and Covert Attack, which he wrote with Richard A. Falkenrath and Robert D. Newman, Darwin and International Relations: On the Evolutionary Origins of War and Ethnic Conflict, and American Empire: A Debate, which he wrote with Christopher Layne. Thayer also served as the editor for American National Security Policy: Essays in Honor of William R. Van Cleave.

America's Achilles' Heel, published in 1998, addresses the United States' state of preparedness for the possibility of a terrorist attack on home ground that involves nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons—referred to as NBC weapons. Despite false alarms in recent decades and instances of such attacks in other countries, such as the release of chemicals in the Tokyo subway system, the United States has done very little to educate the public on these dangers or to provide any sort of evacuation or response plan to be carried out in the event of an attack of this nature. This is the case despite the fact that the U.S. government has acknowledged that there is no way that the country can prevent all such attacks or defend against them effectively should they occur, according to the authors. Washington Monthly reviewer Jeffrey D. Simon called the book "a warning well worth heeding." Raymond A. Zilinskas, in a review for Issues in Science and Technology, pointed out that the Clinton administration was in the process of addressing some of the book's concerns even as it went to press, but that some aspects of the work were still current and worth reading. Ultimately, he found it a "thoughtful and provocative book." Brad Roberts, in a review for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, opined that "the authors make a very good pitch—the United States should spend at least as much to prevent terrorist and covert delivery of weapons of mass destruction as it does to develop the means to prevent their delivery by ballistic missiles. Sage advice at a time of renewed debate about how best to keep the Bulletin's famed clock from moving closer to midnight."

In Darwin and International Relations, Thayer takes an intriguing approach to the soft sciences by applying hard scientific theories to achieve a new outlook on the issues. In this book, he addresses concerns of war, foreign relations, and ethnic conflict through the lens of evolutionary biology in order to apply hard facts instead of belief systems. Looked at this way, Thayer claims that one can find an evolutionary foundation and benefit for both war and ethnic violence, based upon the survival of the individuals with the strongest sense of preservation and the best internal mechanisms to ensure their eventual success. John H. Barnhill, writing for Military Review, remarked of Thayer: "He only wants to touch the surface to show how a hard-science approach to a soft subject can work. He succeeds admirably, and his book deserves careful reading."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January 1, 1999, Brad Roberts, review of America's Achilles' Heel: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Terrorism and Covert Attack, p. 72.

Comparative Strategy, April 1, 2005, Johan M.G. van der Dennen, review of Darwin and International Relations: On the Evolutionary Origins of War and Ethnic Conflict, p. 203.

International Affairs, April 1, 1999, Sony Lee, review of America's Achilles' Heel, p. 404.

International History Review, December 1, 2005, Johan M.G. van der Dennen, review of Darwin and International Relations, p. 934.

Issues in Science and Technology, June 22, 1999, Raymond A. Zilinskas, review of America's Achilles' Heel, p. 84.

Journal of Military History, April 1, 2005, M.A. Ramsay, review of Darwin and International Relations, p. 610.

Military Review, July 1, 2006, John H. Barnhill, review of Darwin and International Relations, p. 117.

Reference & Research Book News, February 1, 2007, review of American Empire: A Debate.

Survival, June 22, 1999, Jonathan B. Tucker, review of America's Achilles' Heel, p. 170.

Washington Monthly, November 1, 1998, Jeffrey Simon, "Target U.S.A.," p. 49.

Wisconsin Lawyer, July 1, 1999, Daniel B. Baskin, review of America's Achilles' Heel, p. 32.

ONLINE

Missouri State University, Department of Defense and Strategic Studies Web site,http://dss.missouristate.edu/ (June 26, 2008), faculty profile.

MIT Press Web site,http://mitpress.mit.edu/ (June 26, 2008), author profile.

University Press of Kentucky Web site,http://www.kentuckypress.com/ (June 26, 2008), author profile.