Dr. Gerald Epstein joined National Defense University’s Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction in July 2018 as a Distinguished Research Fellow. In that capacity he addresses challenges posed by nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, particularly including the security implications of advanced life sciences, biotechnologies, and other emerging and converging technologies. Prior to arriving at National Defense University (NDU), he served as Assistant Director for Biosecurity and Emerging Technologies at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where he served on detail from his position as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Policy at the Department of Homeland Security.
Before returning to government service in 2012, Dr. Epstein directed the Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which he joined in 2009. Prior positions include Senior Fellow for Science and Security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2003 – 2009) and Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense Analyses (2001 – 2003). Dr. Epstein previously served in the White House from 1996 to 2001, ultimately in a joint appointment as Assistant Director of OSTP for National Security and Senior Director for Science and Technology on the National Security Council staff.
From 1983 to 1989 and again from 1991 until its demise in 1995, he worked at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, where he directed a landmark study on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and worked on other international security and defense technology topics. From 1989 to 1991, he directed a project at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government on the relationship between civil and military technologies, and he is a co-author of Beyond Spinoff: Military and Commercial Technologies in a Changing World (Harvard Business School Press, 1992). He also created and taught courses on arms control and nonproliferation at Princeton University, and on science, technology, and homeland security at Georgetown University.
Dr. Epstein is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the AAAS and is a member of the editorial boards for the journals Health Security and Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. He has served on the Biological Threats Panel of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on International Security and Arms Control as well as on the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Security, and Prosperity, which produced the report Beyond Fortress America: National Security Controls on Science and Technology in a Globalized World (Washington DC; National Academy Press, 2009). He received S.B. degrees in physics and in electrical engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley.
- Epstein, Gerald L., “Biodefense and the return to great-power competition,” The Nonproliferation Review, 5 February 2021, https://doi.org/10.1080/10736700.2020.1852751 (last accessed 2/10/2021)
- Lewis, Gregory et al., “The biosecurity benefits of genetic engineering attribution,” Nature Communications, vol. 11, article 6294, 8 December 2020; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19149-2
- Bernstein, Paul; Anderson, Justin; DiEuliis, Diane; Epstein, Gerald; and Moodie, Amanda; “Weapons of Mass Destruction, Strategic Deterrence, and Great Power Competition,” in Lynch, Thomas, ed., Strategic Assessment 2020: Into a New Era of Great Power Competition (Washington, DC: NDU Press, 2020)
- Evans, Samuel Weiss et al., “Embrace Experimentation in Biosecurity Governance,” Science, vol. 368, No. 6487, pp. 138-140, April 10, 2020; http://doi.org/10.1126/science.aba2932
- National Research Council. 2009. Beyond 'Fortress America': National Security Controls on Science and Technology in a Globalized World. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
- Epstein, Gerald L., “DNA Shuffling and Directed Evolution,” in Tucker, Jonathan (editor), Innovation, Dual Use, and Security: Managing the Risks of Emerging Biological and Chemical Technologies (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2012), pp. 101-115
- Epstein, Gerald L., “Preventing Biological Weapon Development Through the Governance of Life Science Research,” Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, vol. 10, No. 1, March 2012, pp. 17-37
- Epstein, Gerald L., “Biosecurity 2011: Not a Year to Change Minds,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 68, No. 1, January/February 2012, pp. 29-38
- Heyman, David; Epstein, Gerald L.; Moodie, Michael. The Global Forum on Biorisks: Toward Effective Management and Governance of Biological Risks (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2009)
- Garfinkel, Michele S.; Endy, Drew, Epstein, Gerald L.; Friedman, Robert M.; Synthetic Genomics: Options for Governance, J. Craig Venter Institute, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, MIT; October 2007
- Center for Strategic and International Studies, Commission on Scientific Communication and National Security, Security Controls on the Access of Foreign Scientists and Engineers to the United States, October 2005
- Center for Strategic and International Studies, Commission on Scientific Communication and National Security, Security Controls on Scientific Information and the Conduct of Scientific Research, June 2005
- Epstein, Gerald L., “Global Evolution of Dual-Use Biotechnology: A Report of the Project on Technology Futures and Global Power, Wealth, and Conflict,” (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, April 2005)
- Epstein, Gerald L., “Controlling Biological Warfare Threats: Resolving Potential Tensions Among the Research Community, Industry, and the National Security Community,” Critical Reviews in Microbiology, Volume 27, Number 4, pp. 321-354, December 2001
- U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Assessing the Risks, OTA-ISC-559 (Washington DC: U.S. GPO, August 1993). Project director.
- Gerald Epstein, Lewis M. Branscomb, Ash Carter, Harvey Brooks, and John A. Alic, Beyond Spinoff: Military and Commercial Technologies in a Changing World (Harvard Business School Press, 1992).
- U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Holding the Edge: Maintaining the Defense Technology Base; Volume 2: Appendixes, OTA-ISC-432, January 1990, Appendixes A, B, and C -- "The DoD Acquisition System," "Studies of Acquisition Times," and "Acquisition Milestones and Phases"
- U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Holding the Edge: Maintaining the Defense Technology Base, OTA-ISC-420 (Washington, DC: U.S. GPO, April 1989), Chapter 8 -- "Lab to Field: Why So Long?"
- U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Starpower: The U.S. and the International Quest for Fusion Energy, OTA-E-338 (Washington DC: U.S. GPO, October 1987). Project director and principal author.
- U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Ballistic Missile Defense Technologies, OTA-ISC-254 (Washington D.C: U.S. GPO, September 1985). Chapter 10, Appendix F, Appendix G, and major portions of Executive Summary, Chapter 4, and Chapter 7
- U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Arms Control in Space: Workshop Proceedings, OTA-BP-ISC-28 (Washington, DC: U.S. GPO, May 1984). Project Director