Press the Button
Press the Button
Ploughshares Fund
An engaging podcast on nuclear policy and national security, Press the Button is co-hosted by defense experts Michelle Dover and Tom Collina of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. This weekly podcast features top officials and experts discussing the latest developments on Iran, North Korea, nuclear weapons, military budgets and foreign policy. Press the Button offers diverse views on one of the most important issues of our time: preventing nuclear war. Have a question about nuclear issues that you’d like to hear answered on the podcast? Email us at
The Bomb and Your Brain
Neuroscientist Moran Cerf and PopTech president Leetha Filderman, join Press the Button for an illuminating discussion on how behavioral science can be applied to nuclear deterrence theory. Early Warning features our deputy policy director Mary Kaszynski and Andrew Albertson of Foreign Policy for American on President-elect Joe Biden's recent appointments for top national security roles, and the recent assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist.
Nov 30
50 min
Biden's Nuclear Priorities
Jon Wolfsthal of Global Zero and Alexandra Bell of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation discuss what to expect from President-elect Joe Biden on nuclear policy issues, and what work needs to be done to reduce current nuclear threats. Early Warning features our deputy policy director Mary Kaszynski discussing revelations that President Donald Trump sought options to attack Iran in response to a recent increase in the country’s stockpile of nuclear material.
Nov 23
40 min
Our Common Humanity
Michael Krepon and Lovely Umayam of the Stimson Center join Press the Button for a unique look at what is possible for future nuclear policy, and how the nuclear policy field should respond in the face of weakened arms control agreements, increased nuclear arsenal modernization, and a new presidential administration in the United States. Early Warning features Steven Pifer of the Brookings Institution on what the incoming Joe Biden administration can do to reduce nuclear threats when in office.
Nov 16
46 min
Biden Won. Now What?
Heather Hurlburt, director of the New Models of Policy Change project at New America's Political Reform program, is back on Press the Button to discuss the domestic and international challenges that await US President-elect Joe Biden, who is set to take office in January 2021. Early Warning features Mary Kaszynski and Marissa Conway on the Trump administration's last push for 'maximum pressure' on Iran, and what a feminist approach toward foreign policy and nuclear policy might look like.
Nov 9
36 min
Reimagining Risk in Philanthropy
Alexandra I. Toma, executive director of the Peace and Security Funders Group, joins Press the Button for a discussion on how the pandemic and economic recession has changed philanthropy, and what the foundations and wealthy individuals that want to create a more peaceful, secure world must do to achieve their goals in a changed world. Early Warning features Alicia Sanders-Zakre on the success of the Nuclear Ban Treaty, and what its entry into force will mean for the movement to eliminate nuclear weapons.
Nov 2
45 min
Rethinking American Primacy
Stephen Wertheim, Deputy Director of Research and Policy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, joins Press the Button for an in-depth analysis of the decades-long consensus around US global military dominance, and how views on American primacy are changing among the public and politicians. Early Warning features Jessica Lee and Shannon Bugos discussing the Trump's administration handling of North Korea and updates on US-Russia negotiations to extend the New START Treaty.
Oct 26
43 min
Talk About the Perfect Weapon
David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, joins Press the Button for an exclusive interview on the emergence of cyber conflict between countries, and how the rise of cyberweapons like the Stuxnet virus transformed geopolitics. His book The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age, is the basis of a new HBO Original Documentary. Early Warning features Alexandra Bell and Melissa Hanham on the status of New START negotiations and North Korean missiles.
Oct 19
47 min
Ask Me Anything (About the Bomb)
William J. Perry, 19th US Secretary of Defense, is back on Press the Button with our policy director Tom Collina on their recent Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session, which answered questions posted by hundreds of internet users on presidential authority to start a nuclear war and whether the military would refuse a legal order to launch nuclear weapons. Early Warning features Twela Abrahamson-Swan discussing the impact of nuclear weapons production on the lives of Native Americans.
Oct 12
35 min
Banning the Bomb
Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, comes back to Press the Button to discuss the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a UN resolution that was passed in 2017 and is now just five ratifications shy of the 50 needed to enter into force. Early Warning features John Carl Baker and Pranay Vaddi discussing prospects of US-Russia arms control and DPRK/ROK relations.
Oct 5
44 min
Forgotten Bombs: US Nukes in Europe
Mike Sweeney, a fellow at Defense Priorities and former think tank analyst focused on US foreign policy and defense planning, joins Press the Button for a discussion on why the United States should take its nuclear weapons out Europe. Early Warning features Dr. Jeffrey Lewis and Mary Kaszynski discussing US plans to reimpose sanctions on Iran by invoking a provision in the Iran nuclear agreement, which the Trump administration withdrew from in 2018. Tom Collina answers a question regarding nuclear myths.
Sep 28
35 min
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