Difficult Conversations: Fingers off the Button

Andrew Futter

On Thursday 5 May 2022, Prof Andrew Futter, Dr Cameron Hunter, Dr Olamide Samuel, Marion Messmer & Dr Matthew Bolton participated in the Difficult Conversation Series. ‘Fingers off the Button’ was the fourth installment of the series.

The panel primarily considered questions regarding nuclear weapons in the UK.  

View the recording of this session, by clicking the link below. 

Cameron Hunter Participates in SCRAP Webinar on US-China Tensions

16th February 2022

Cameron Hunter contributed to a panel discussion titled ‘Deterrence and Strategic Cultures: History and Where We Are Now’ for SCRAP Weapons as part of their new webinar series.

The series aims to provide a space for critical discussion on the relationship between the United States and China, the potential for an arms race between the two countries, and what this means for international disarmament goals.

Cameron shared key comparisons from history, exploring how and why the two countries have at different times fought each other in war, competing during uneasy peace, and cooperated in the past. You can hear the entire panel discussion online here.

TNA Project Runs procurement politics simulation

12th January 2022

The Third Nuclear Age Project Team ran a simulation of the politics of technological procurement.  The players were briefed on their starting positions and then were left free to choose whatever technologies they felt their team required to maintain national security over the long-term. This closed game was part of a process of developing and refining scenarios for future events with stakeholders.

Held at the imaginary “ERSATZ” classification level, the players took on the roles of senior defence procurement bureaucrats in the fictional region of “Archipelagia.” Each turn simulated 3 years of in-game time, allowing players to see the consequences of their procurement decisions and respond to their regional rivals. Competition was intense, and the players’ decisions resulted in a deteriorating security environment. At its conclusion, the game designers extrapolated how a military crisis in the region would play out in light of the new weapons capabilities that the players had selected.

Feedback from the players was incredibly positive, highlighting requirements and implications for the methodology of future games.

The finale session gave players an overview of actions taken by the game designers and their opponents – actions that were otherwise secret while the game was in progress.

The briefing was delivered by the fictional superpower’s military featured in the game.

Dr Bleddyn Bowen and Dr Cameron Hunter, "Chinese Fractional Orbital Bombardment" (APLN, November 2021)

APLN Policy Brief 78

“Reports of China testing a new missile system, known as Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS), have fuelled concerns about the nuclear weapon state’s advancing military capabilities and the consequences for the United States.

The flight tests conducted in July and August saw a rocket launched into orbital flight, which later re-entered the atmosphere and released a maneuverable glide vehicle travelling at hypersonic speeds. Long-range missile systems like this can carry nuclear or non-nuclear warheads. With no official explanation from the Chinese government, some American commentators were quick to assume the worst – a new Chinese ability to bombard the United States from outer space with nuclear weapons.

In this new policy brief, Dr. Bleddyn Bowen and Dr. Cameron Hunter from the University of Leicester assess the technical and policy implications of this new system and whether these concerns are justified.” 

– Asia Pacific Leadership Network


Dr Bleddyn Bowen
Dr Cameron Hunter

Derby House Principles

We are delighted to announce that the Third Nuclear Age Project is now signed up to the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion in professional wargaming

This means that:

As professional gamers we are committed to the Derby House Principles:

1. Promoting inclusion and diversity in professional wargaming, through the standards we set, the opportunities we offer, and access to activities we organise.
2. Making clear our opposition to sexism, racism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination across the board, as well as in wargaming.
3. Encouraging a greater role and higher profile for colleagues from underrepresented groups in our professional activities.
4. Seeking out and listening to the concerns and suggestions of our colleagues as to how our commitment to diversity and inclusion could be enhanced.
5. Demonstrating our commitment to diversity and inclusion through ongoing assessment of progress made and discussion of future steps.

As a team we feel it is particularly important for us to publicly commit to these principles as we plan to ramp-up the conflict simulation component of our project over the next two years. We want to ensure that these professional skills, increasingly valuable in the national security job market, are available to all regardless of background. These commitments closely complement one the primary objectives of the Third Nuclear Age project, which is to equip and develop the next generation of nuclear policy analysts.

Cameron Hunter Presents Paper on "Bernard Brodie's Strategic Theory in the Third Nuclear Age"

Dr Cameron Hunter presented at NATO’s defence college on 7th July 2021. The event was the NATO Defence College’s Early-Career Nuclear Strategists Workshop (

His paper was titled “Bernard Brodie’s Strategic Theory in the Third Nuclear Age.” It highlighted Brodie’s arguments that technological change does not inevitably demand certain policy choices. The workshop format meant that Cameron received valuable feedback from senior scholars and practitioners from the nuclear community.