MERCED - Professor
Gregg Herkenwon a fellowship through the Foundation for Defense
of Democracies that will take him to Israel for 10 days this summer.
The FDD, which formed after the terror attacks of Sept. 11,
2001, annually invites several university professors to attend an
intensive 10-day seminar at the University of Israel in Tel Aviv,
to hear lectures and participate in discussions with academics,
diplomats, military and intelligence officials, and politicians
from Israel, Jordan, India, Turkey and the United States.
Participants will also visit military bases, border zones and
other security installations to learn the practical side of
deterring terrorist attacks.
“My interest in the FDD’s Academic Fellows program stems from my
dual interest in history and unresolved global conflicts. For
better or worse, it’s likely that this region of the world will
determine much of this century’s future history,” Herken said.
“Unfortunately, it’s also likely that the Middle East will be the
arena for another academic interest of mine: the use or threatened
use of weapons of mass destruction.”
Herken is a history professor who specializes in American
diplomatic history, nuclear history and the history of the Cold
War. He is the author of “Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Tangled
Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and
Edward Teller,” an exploration of the lives of the scientists most
responsible for the advent of weapons of mass destruction. For that
work, he was named as a finalist for the 2003 Los Angeles Times
A member of UC Merced’s founding faculty, Herken previously
served as a senior historian and the curator of Military Space at
the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in
He also taught recent American history and the history of
American foreign policy at Oberlin College, Yale University and Caltech.
In addition to “Brotherhood of the Bomb,” Herken has written
three other books, “The Winning Weapon: The Atomic Bomb in the Cold
War;” “Counsels of War;” and “Cardinal Choices: Presidential
Science Advising from the Atomic Bomb to SDI.”
He also served as a senior research and policy analyst to the
President’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, at
the request of the U.S. Department of Energy, as a result of the
research done for “Brotherhood of the Bomb.”
Herken will join 45 other professors from all over the U.S. and
Canada on the trip from May 26 through June 6.
The FDD said this is the largest group of scholars it has
hosted, and it had more than 150 applicants this year.
“We invest a lot of time, money and research into presenting the
best program possible because we’re confident that people like
Professor Herken will make the most of it,” said David Silverstein,
the FDD’s vice president for campus programs.
The FDD bills itself as “the only nonpartisan policy institute
dedicated exclusively to promoting pluralism, defending democratic
values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism.”
The late Dr. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, former ambassador to the
United Nations, was instrumental in founding the FDD. She was the
first woman appointed as Permanent Representative of the United
States to the United Nations and as a member of Ronald Reagan’s
Cabinet and National Security Council (1981-85). For her government
service, Kirkpatrick was awarded the Medal of Freedom – the
nation’s highest civilian honor – in May 1985.
FDD board members and advisers include Steve Forbes, CEO of
Forbes Magazine; Jack Kemp, former secretary of Housing and Urban
Development; Judge Louis J. Freeh, former FBI director; Sen. Joseph
Lieberman, (D-CT); Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; and
“While the impetus behind the creation of the FDD was reactive -
it was formed in response to the terrorist attacks of September
2001 - the intent of the Foundation’s Academic Fellows program is
to affect positive change, particularly in the western democracies’
response to terrorism,” Herken said.