Thomas MacDonald

Nuclear Policy Program
Thomas MacDonald is a fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


BSc, Biochemistry, University of Waterloo, 2010
MSc, Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toronto, 2013
PhD Nuclear Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2021




Thomas MacDonald is a fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has an interdisciplinary scientific background which he applies to interesting technical problems which are interwoven with political concerns. His current research focuses on the verification of nuclear arms control and nonproliferation agreements. This work is along two tracks, developing verifiable and feasible arms control proposals to revitalize a flagging arms control establishment, and researching probabilistic methods to find novel approaches to stubborn arms control challenges. 

He completed his PhD in nuclear science and engineering at MIT. His dissertation work studied the national security implications of advancing and emerging technologies, specifically remote sensing technologies used to track mobile missiles carrying nuclear weapons. He also completed a MSc in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Toronto where he synthesized nanoparticles for detecting and treating cancer, and holds a BSc in biochemistry from the University of Waterloo. 

  • Reimagining Nuclear Arms Control: A Comprehensive Approach
    Report December 16, 2021
    Reimagining Nuclear Arms Control: A Comprehensive Approach

    To try to find common ground, this report presents nine detailed practical measures that—implemented individually or as part of a package—would help address each state’s specific security concerns and the shared dangers of arms racing and inadvertent escalation.

  • Op-Ed Defense One December 15, 2021
    Nuclear Command-and-Control Satellites Should Be Off Limits

    But the greatest danger that this careless stunt highlighted is to a different potential target: high-altitude satellites used for nuclear command and control. Those critical satellites face the threat of being attacked by co-orbital anti-satellite weapons, that is, other spacecraft with offensive capabilities.

  • A missile launching
    July 27, 2021
    New Approaches to Verifying and Monitoring North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal

    While hopes remain for a reboot of nuclear talks with North Korea, a crucial but oft-overlooked question is how compliance with any negotiated agreement would be monitored and verified.

  • A Nike missle in one of the "barns" from the Cold War
    Paper December 14, 2020 中文
    Revamping Nuclear Arms Control: Five Near-Term Proposals

    To quickly lower the risk of nuclear escalation, manage arms racing, and avoid a breakdown in future treaty negotiations, the United States, Russia, and China should consider five politically binding proposals to build transparency and confidence.

  • Is There a Future for Nuclear Arms Control?
    December 16, 2021 Live Online
    Is There a Future for Nuclear Arms Control?

    Tensions between the great powers are rising. A three-way arms race between China, Russia, and the United States is underway. Should a conventional conflict with either Russia or China occur, it could escalate into a nuclear war. Beijing, Moscow, and Washington all say they want to mitigate these dangers through arms control—but is there a practical way forward?


Areas of Expertise

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20036-2103 Phone: 202 483 7600 Fax: 202 483 1840
Please note...

You are leaving the website for the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy and entering a website for another of Carnegie's global centers.