Dr. Hecker’s current research interests include nuclear nonproliferation and arms control, nuclear weapons policy, nuclear security, the safe and secure expansion of nuclear energy, and plutonium science. At the end of the Cold War, he has fostered cooperation with the Russian nuclear laboratories to secure and safeguard the vast stockpile of ex-Soviet fissile materials. In June 2016, the Los Alamos Historical Society published two volumes edited by Dr. Hecker. The works, titled Doomed to Cooperate, document the history of Russian-U.S. laboratory-to-laboratory cooperation since 1992.
Dr. Hecker joined Los Alamos National Laboratory as graduate research assistant and postdoctoral fellow before returning as technical staff member following a tenure at General Motors Research. He led the laboratory’s Materials Science and Technology Division and Center for Materials Science before serving as laboratory director from 1986 through 1997, and senior fellow until July 2005.
Among his professional distinctions, Dr. Hecker is a member of the National Academy of Engineering; foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences; fellow of the TMS, or Minerals, Metallurgy and Materials Society; fellow of the American Society for Metals; fellow of the American Physical Society, honorary member of the American Ceramics Society; and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Jenny TownJenny Town is a Senior Fellow at the Stimson Center and the Director of Stimson’s 38 North Program. Her expertise is in North Korea, US-DPRK relations, US-ROK alliance and Northeast Asia regional security. She was named one of Worth Magazine’s “Groundbreakers 2020: 50 Women Changing the World” and one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2019 for her role in co-founding and managing the 38 North website, which provides policy and technical analysis on North Korea.
Ms. Town is also an expert reviewer for Freedom House’s Freedom in the World Index, where she previously worked on the Human Rights in North Korea Project; an Associate Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a Member of the National Committee on North Korea, and an Associate Member of the Council of Korean Americans. She serves on the Editorial Board for Inkstick, an online foreign policy journal for emerging scholars.
From 2008-2018, Ms. Town served as the Assistant Director of the US-Korea Institute at SAIS. She holds a BA in East Asian Studies and International Relations from Westmar University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
Frank AumFrank Aum is the senior expert on Northeast Asia at the U.S. Institute of Peace. He oversees the Institute’s work on Northeast Asia and focuses on ways to strengthen diplomacy to reduce tensions and enhance peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. From 2010 to 2017, he worked at the Department of Defense, including as special counsel to the Army General Counsel, special assistant to the assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, and senior advisor on North Korea in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. During this time, he advised four secretaries of defense on issues related to Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula. Aum also served as head of delegation for working level negotiations with the Republic of Korea on U.S.-ROK Alliance matters and received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.
Aum previously worked as a corporate attorney, and also has extensive experience in the public and non-profit sectors. He completed a Fulbright Scholarship in Jeju Island, South Korea and worked as a speechwriter in the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In addition, he worked to strengthen the Koreatown community in Los Angeles at the city’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and the Korean American Coalition (KAC).
Aum received his bachelor’s from Dartmouth College, his master’s from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and his Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley.
ModeratorGeorge KallanderGeorge Kallander is the Director of the East Asia Program, and Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the History Department, Syracuse University. Kallander’s research focuses on early modern Korea. He is author of two books: “The Diary of 1636: The Second Manchu Invasion of Korea” (Columbia University Press, 2020) and “Salvation through Dissent: Tonghak Heterodoxy and Early Modern Korea” (University of Hawai’i Press, 2013), and completing a third monograph titled “Beastly Rites: Human-Animal Relations and the Hunt in Premodern Korea and Northeast Asia.” He is also co-editor of the “Cambridge History of Korea” project, the Chosŏn Dynasty volume, for which he is contributing a chapter. Kallander has received fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), the Academy of Korean Studies, and Columbia University. He teaches a number of courses on Korea, Japan, the Korean War, East Asia, and global history.