Tom Bielefeld is a nuclear security researcher and consultant. His areas of
expertise are in nuclear and radiological terrorism prevention and response as
well as in nuclear nonproliferation. He is based in Nuremberg and Bremen (Germany).
Trained as a physicist, Bielefeld has worked for more than 15 years at the intersection of science and nuclear security policy in Germany and the United States. Before becoming an independent consultant, he held research positions at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and at the Bremen State Radioactivity Measurements Laboratory. He was also a Research Associate at Hamburg University’s Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy as well as a Research Affiliate with the Science, Technology, and Global Security Working Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He co-founded and, for two years, co-directed the Bremen Institute for Technology and Society, a private research association.
Bielefeld is a member of the Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG) and of the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS).
Areas of Research and Expertise
I. Nuclear Security.
- Radiological terrorism prevention and preparedness: threat assessments; radioactive sources security; nuclear incident response (concepts, computer simulations, exercises).
- Nuclear terrorism prevention: threat and policy assessments; physical protection concepts for nuclear facilities and fissile materials.
- Curbing nuclear trafficking: respective roles of detection technology, law enforcement, and intelligence; radiation detector modeling; border control operations and human factors.
- Nuclear forensics and attribution: methods for post-attack forensics; integration with other means of nuclear intelligence gathering; role in nuclear deterrence postures; reactor physics modeling.
- Homeland security; organizational and operational characteristics of terrorist groups.
II. Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
and policy assessments of proliferator states' nuclear programs and activities.
- Clandestine trade in nuclear technologies; export control policies and practices.
III. Security and Defense Technology Assessment.
- Critical infrastructure protection concepts and practices, focusing on aviation security.
- [Past work on missile defense systems: technical and policy
aspects; strategic missile defense and arms control; theater missile defense systems.]
- [Past work on technology assessment methods for emerging security and defense technologies.]
Professional Experience and Education
Research Fellow/Associate with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School (2006-2014).
with the Science, Technology, and Global Security Working Group at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2006-2010).
Co-founder and Deputy Director of the Bremen Institute for Technology and Society, a private research and consulting association (2004-2006). (At present, the institute's work is suspended.)
(→ Acquired and fulfilled two security-related research contracts; also: technical and policy analysis on theater missile defenses, emerging technologies for future defense systems.)
Research Associate with the Bremen State Radioacivity Measurements
Laboratory/Institute for Environmental Physics, University of Bremen (2001-2006).
(→ Nuclear emergency response, radiological terrorism prevention, nuclear forensics.)
Research Associate with the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy (IFSH), Hamburg University (2000-2001).
(→ Technical and policy analysis on missile defense systems and WMD proliferation.)
Physics studies at the Universities of Bremen and Wales; M. Sc. in Quantum Fields and Symmetry (theoretical particle physics) from the University of Wales Swansea (1998).
Selected Articles, Reports, and Commentary
Additional references will be posted shortly. Papers which cannot be downloaded here are available upon request, unless they are proprietary.
- Tom Bielefeld, Mexico’s Stolen Radiation Source: It Could Happen Here. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (January 23, 2014). (link)
- Tom Bielefeld, Proliferation-Relevant Technology: Germany’s Export
Control Practices and Industry-Outreach Efforts. Commissioned study report for the Project on Managing the Atom, Harvard Kennedy School (2013).
- Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Tom Bielefeld, A Call for German Leadership in Combating Nuclear Terrorism. OpEd, 13 April 2010 (both the English language version and a German translation Appell für eine aktivere deutsche Rolle bei der Bekämpfung des Nuklearterrorismus are available here).
See also the related interview with Spiegel-Online (26 April 2010 - in German).
- Helmut W. Fischer, Tom Bielefeld, Bernd Hettwig, Krypton Gas Cylinders as a Source of Radiation. Health Physics 99, 1 (2010) 58-65. (link)
- Helmut W. Fischer, Tom Bielefeld, Bernd Hettwig, 85Kr in Industrial Krypton Gas: Origin, Identification and Dosimetry. Proc. of the Third European IRPA Congress 2010. (link)
- Tom Bielefeld, 'Stuxnet', Nuclear Security, and Iran. Briefing-Paper (2010).
Tom Bielefeld, Helmut W. Fischer, The Security of Medical and Industrial Radioactive Sources. Proc. of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management Annual Meeting 2008.
Matthew Bunn, Tom Bielefeld, Reducing Nuclear and Radiological Terrorism Threats. Proc. of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management Annual Meeting 2007. (link)
Tom Bielefeld, Hassan Abbas, The Khan Job. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist 63, 4 (July/August 2007) 72-73. (link)
Tom Bielefeld, H. W. Fischer, Security and Damage Potential of Commercial Radioactive Sources. Journal of Nuclear Materials Management 35, 2 (2007) 14-17.
Tom Bielefeld, H. W. Fischer, Medizinische und industrielle Strahlenquellen als radiologische Waffen (Medical and Industrial Radiation Sources As Radiological Weapons). Strahlenschutzpraxis, 3 (August 2006) 53-57.
Tom Bielefeld, Christian Eurich, Science Roadmapping für Rüstungstechnologie-Folgenabschätzung und präventive Rüstungslontrolle (Science Roadmapping for Defense Technology Assessment and Preventive Arms Control). Technikfolgenabschätzung: Theorie und Praxis, 14, 3 (2005) 128-134. (link)
Tom Bielefeld, MEADS: Anforderungen - Fähigkeiten - Rüstungskontrolle (MEADS: Requirements - Capabilities - Arms Control). BITG-Working Paper (2005).
Tom Bielefeld, Das Verglühen von Flugkörpern beim Eintritt in die Erdatmosphäre (The Burn-Up of Objects During Entry Into the Earth's Atmosphere). Commissioned study report for the Fraunhofer Institute for Technological Trend Analysis INT (2004).
Tom Bielefeld, Götz Neuneck, Raketenabwehr-Optionen für die Bush-Administration: Die technische Dimension (Missile Defense Options for the Bush-Administration: The Technical Dimension). Sicherheit und Frieden, 2 (2001) 89-95. (link)
- Tom Bielefeld, Götz Neuneck, Raketenabwehr: Ende der Illusion? (Missile Defense: The End of an Illusion?). Spektrum der Wissenschaft, 9 (2000) 92-94. (link)
Tom Bielefeld, Simon Hands, John D. Stack, Roy J. Wensley, Magnetic Monopoles as Agents of Chiral Symmetry Breaking in U(1) Lattice Gauge Theory. Physics Letters B416 (1998) 150-156. (link)
Selected Panels and Seminar Talks
Additional references will be posted shortly.
- Nuklearterrorismus verhindern: Deutschland und das Gipfeltreffen zur nuklearen Sicherheit (Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Germany and the Nuclear Security Summit). Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (German Institute for International and Security Affairs), Berlin (February 27, 2014).
- Thwarting Nuclear Smuggling - Technical and Policy Instruments. 3. Symposium Nukleare und Radiologische Waffen, Euskirchen, Germany (September 21, 2011).
- Forensics, Detectors, and Deterrence - Integrating Technology with Policy to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism. Security Studies Seminar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, US (March 9, 2011).
Thwarting Nuclear Smuggling - Revamping the Defense's Outer Layers. Managing
the Atom Seminar Series, Belfer Center for Science and International
Affairs, Harvard University, Cambridge, US (May 13, 2010). (link)
Nuclear Forensics and Its Role in Security Policy. International
Security Program Seminar, Belfer Center for Science and International
Affairs, Harvard University, Cambridge, US (November 20, 2008). (link)
The Security of Radioactive Sources in Hospitals and Industrial Facilities. 12th International Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA 12), Buenos Aires, Argentina (October 21, 2008).
The Categorization of Radioactive Sources. Workshop on Reducing the Risk from Radioactive and Nuclear Materials, Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, Washington D.C., US (February 19, 2008).
Nuclear Attibution as Security Policy Tool: Possibilities and Limitations. Program in Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, US (May 16, 2007).
Domestic Security of Radioactive Sources. Workshop on Reducing the Risk from Radioactive and Nuclear Materials, Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, Santa Fe, US (March 21, 2007).
Radioactive Sources Security and Radiological Attack Preparedness. Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, US (November 18, 2005); Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, US (November 17, 2005); Program on Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, US (November 16, 2005).
MEADS und NATO-TMD: Perspektiven einer europäischen Raketenabwehr (MEADS and NATO-TMD: Perspectives of a European Missile Defense System). Frühjahrstagung der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany (March 8, 2005).
Missile Defense: A View From Europe. Science and Global Security Program, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, US (February 21, 2002); Security Studies Program Technical Seminar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, US (February 19, 2002).
Image Credits for Tom Bielefeld - Homepage:
Portrait photo by NSB.
Photos included in this website's header section were all produced by agencies of the US
Government, with the following exceptions: the photo of the security fence at a
nuclear power plant and of the radioactive source container are both courtesy of the IAEA;
the Bushehr-site satellite image was produced by GeoEye.
Tom Bielefeld, URL: <https://sites.google.com/site/tombielefeld/> (v/ 4/2015)