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Dr Lora Saalman

Associate Senior Fellow

Dr Lora Saalman

Lora Saalman

Dr Lora Saalman is an Associate Senior Fellow within SIPRI’s Armament and Disarmament and Conflict, Peace and Security research areas and a Senior Fellow in the Global Cooperation in Cyberspace Program at the EastWest Institute. Her research focuses on China’s cyber, nuclear and advanced conventional weapon developments in relation to India, Russia and the United States. Dr Saalman completed her PhD at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where she was the first American to earn a doctorate from its Department of International Relations. Her doctoral studies and dissertation on the impact of US and European sanctions on China’s and India’s military modernization were conducted entirely in Chinese.

Since that time she has taught on related topics at Tsinghua University and at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, where she covered cybersecurity issues after having undergone technical training on hacker tools, exploits and incident handling, as well as ICS/SCADA security essentials. Among the first batch of Stanton Nuclear Security Fellows, Dr Saalman was based in Beijing with the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy as an Associate within the Nuclear Policy Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. During her tenure, she headed seminar series for senior and emerging experts on China and Arms Control, China and South Asia, as well as China and Russia. She also served as an adjunct professor at Tsinghua University teaching courses in Chinese and English on Sino-Indian relations and diplomacy.

Prior to this, she served as a Research Associate at the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control in Washington, DC, as well as a Visiting Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, DC. While at the Monterey Institute of International Studies she earned a one-year fellowship to work at the Division of Safeguards Information Technology at the International Atomic Energy Agency. 

Subject expertise

Arms control; non-proliferation; cybersecurity; nuclear strategy;  advanced conventional weapons;  technology development; crossdomain deterrence

Regional expertise

China, South Asia 

English, Chinese

PhD in International Relations, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China; MA in International Policy Studies and Certificate in Non-proliferation, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, CA; BA with Honors in Anthropology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

United States
External publications
  • Saalman, L., 'China and India: Two Models for AI Military Acquisition and Integration' in Routledge Handbook of China–India Relations, London (Feb 2020)
  • Saalman, L., China’s AI-Enabled Offense: Hypersonic Glide Vehicles and Neural Networks, In AI, China, Russia, and the Global Order: Technological, Political, Global, and Creative Perspectives, Multilayer Assessment (SMA) White Paper, U.S. Department of Defense (Jan 2019)
  • Saalman, L., Fear of false negatives: AI and China’s nuclear posture, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April 2018
  • Saalman, L. 'From Backdoor to Bridge: Japan as a Western Power in Cyberspace', In Jeffrey Reeves, Jeffrey Hornung, Kerry Lynn Nankivell, Eds., Chinese–Japanese Competition and the East Asian Security Complex: Vying for Influence, (London and New York: Routledge, 2017), pp. 128-140. 
  • Saalman, L., 'Rethinking China-Russia-U.S. Deterrence in Cyberspace', University of Copenhagen,, Issue 4 (Nov 2017)
  • Saalman, L. and Dethlefsen, K., Following the Forum: China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the EU, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (July 2017)
  • Saalman, L. 'Little Grey Men: China and the Ukraine Crisis', Survival - Global Politics and Strategy, Issue 6, Volume 58 (2016)
  • Saalman, L., 'Pouring ‘New’ Wine into New Bottles: China-US Deterrence in Cyberspace', Seton Hall Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, vol. 17, no. 1 (Fall/Winter 2015).
  • Saalman, L., 'China: Lines Blur Between Nuclear and Conventional Warfighting', Lowy Institute (December 2014).
  • Saalman, L., 'Prompt Global Strike: China and the Spear', Independent Faculty Article, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (April 2014).
  • Saalman, L., 'The China Factor', eds Alexei Arbatov, Vladimir Dvorkin, Natalia Bubnova, Missile Defense: Confrontation and Cooperation, (Moscow, Russia: Carnegie Moscow Centre, April 2013).
  • Saalman, L., 'Balancing China’s Interests on North Korea and Iran', The Carnegie Papers, Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy (April 2013).
  • Saalman, L., 'Placing a Renminbi Sign on Strategic Stability and Nuclear Reductions', eds Elbridge Colby and Michael Gerson, Strategic Stability: Contending Interpretations, (Carlisle, PA: United States Army War College Press, February 2013) pp. 343-381.
  • Si Leru [Saalman, Lora], “Shixi meizhong hebukuosan hezuo” [“Analysis of China-U.S. Nonproliferation Cooperation”], In Zhongguo guoji zhanlue pinglun 2012 [China International Strategy Review 2012], Issue 5, Shijie zhishi chubanshe, September 2012, p. 303-318. 
  • Saalman, L. (ed), The China-India Nuclear Crossroads, Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, August 2012).
  • Si Leru [Saalman, Lora], '’Nengfou’ bi ‘yingfou’ gang zhongyao', ['’Able’ is More Important than ‘Should’'], Yilang yanjing you meiyou fazhan hewuqi? [Has Iranian Research Actually Produced Nuclear Weapons?], Guoji xianqu daobao [International Herald Tribune], February 2012, p. 18.