The MIT Security Studies Program was saddened to learn of the death of program founder and longtime friend of the program, Professor Jack Ruina, on February 4, 2015.
Jack Ruina not only co-founded the Defense and Arms Control Studies Program (DACS), now SSP, he led it through one critical generational transition, which helped to secure its future.
“Though an engineer, and committed to independent analysis of military technology, Jack helped turn SSP into a big tent, which welcomed political scientists, including me, into the core of the program,” said Barry Posen, Director of SSP. “This move was fundamental to SSP’s ability to navigate the surprise collapse of the Soviet Union, and adapt itself to the problems of the post-Cold War world.”
“Jack effortlessly brought together technologists and social scientists to address the central security issues of the Cold War, most particularly the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. He had easy access to nuclear experts around the globe and was a leader in the quest to temper the arms race. As a founder of the Defense and Arms Control program at MIT he helped build the careers of many of today’s security specialists in and out of government,” said Harvey Sapolsky, Professor Emeritus and former Director of SSP.
“Upon his retirement, Jack left us a generous parting gift of an endowment to support the nuclear age dinner speaker series that bears his name,” Posen said. “The satisfaction that we draw daily from our lives in the Security Studies Program is an enduring gift from Jack.”
Prof. Ruina was an undergraduate at the City College of New York and did his graduate work at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, earning his MEE and DEE there. He has been granted the Outstanding Alumnus Award from both colleges. He taught at Brown University and the University of Illinois; at the latter, he also headed the Radar Division of the Control System Laboratory. While on leave from the University of Illinois, he served in several senior positions at the Department of Defense, the last being Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, and was honored with the Fleming Award for being one of ten outstanding young men in government in 1962. He served on many government committees, including a presidential appointment to the General Advisory Committee, 1969-1977, and acted as Senior Consultant to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, 1977-1980. He also held the post of President of the Institute for Defense Analyses. At MIT, he has held the position of Vice President for Special Laboratories and was Secretary of the MIT Faculty.
A more detailed article outlining all of Professor Ruina’s accomplishments and contributions may be found at http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/jack-ruina-dies-at-91-0212.