Meet David Schmerler, a research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) in Monterey, Calif.
Schmerler, 28, spends his days working on 3D models, videos, and interactives and conducting research, primarily on North Korea. He also works on projects on Iran, Russia and China.
The Chicago native is one of hundreds of students and young experts who over the years have helped develop nti.org, the most authoritative, factual and in-depth website in the field with an on-line research library, basic primers on WMD issues, more than 40 country profiles and interactive maps and videos.
The site itself is central to NTI’s commitment to public education; the CNS partnership that makes it possible helps develop sorely needed next-generation capacity on global security issues.
We asked Dave, who is now working on a 3D model of North Korea’s Hwasong-12 Missile, to share a little bit about his work and his interest in the field.
What is your role at CNS/MIIS and how long have you been doing this?
I am a Research Associate at CNS and I have been in this position for about two years. Before working as a Research Associate, I was a Graduate Research Assistant here, working on building 3D missile models and producing videos for NTI about WMD issues while finishing my graduate work.
How did you get interested in nuclear weapons, WMD, international security issues, etc. and why?
I have always been interested in North Korea. I grew up with a lot of friends from South Korea, and the North Korea was interesting to me because it was a Korea I could never interact with. So I picked up an interest via my exposure to friends.
During my time as a student at the University of Illinois, I was always trying to find new venues for learning about North Korea, and the one that compelled me the most was their strategic weapons systems. Once I was accepted to the Middlebury Institute for International Studies (MIIS) and started doing research at CNS, I was able to develop a much better understanding of the role and development of ballistic missiles and their deployment in North Korea.
Is there a particular topic that you focus on? What is it about this topic that interests you?