Norwich University announces winner of the 2024 Colby Military Writers’ Award

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Author Mariana Budjeryn has been selected for the 2024 William E. Colby Military Writers’ Award for her work Inheriting the Bomb: The Collapse of the USSR and the Nuclear Disarmament of Ukraine.

Vermont Business Magazine Author Mariana Budjeryn has been selected for the 2024 William E. Colby Military Writers’ Award for her work Inheriting the Bomb: The Collapse of the USSR and the Nuclear Disarmament of Ukraine (John Hopkins Press). 

The annual award is presented to a solo work of fiction or nonfiction that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations, or international affairs. Mariana Budjeryn, whose work is both timely and relevant, has the added distinction of being the first female author to be honored as the winner of the Colby Award in its 25-year history. 

In Inheriting the Bomb: The Collapse of the USSR and the Nuclear Disarmament of Ukraine, Budjeryn examines the aftermath of the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, the 30,000 nuclear weapons now spread over four newly sovereign states, the predicament caused by the Soviet collapse, and the subsequent nuclear disarmament of the non-Russian Soviet successor states. 

Through extensive archival research in both the Soviet Union and the United States, the book carefully studies how the potential nuclear proliferation crisis was averted. From the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to the transfer of nuclear warheads to Russia, Inheriting the Bomb reconstructs Ukraine’s path to nuclear disarmament, including a nuanced narrative of post-Soviet denuclearization. Although domestic economic woes and external diplomatic pressures were considerable factors in the Ukrainian decision, the NPT stands out as a salient force that provided an international framework for managing the Soviet nuclear collapse. 

Colby Award winners receive a $5,000 author honorarium provided through the continued generosity of the Chicago-based Pritzker Military Foundation. Budjeryn will be formally presented with her award during the 30th annual Norwich University Military Writers’ Symposium, taking place October 7-8 on campus. This year’s symposium theme focuses on information warfare: “Perception Wars: The Battle to Control Reality.” 

“We’re delighted to be able to contribute to the esteemed Colby Award recipients,” said Colonel (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), founder of the Pritzker Military Foundation. “Mariana Budjeryn’s in-depth exploration of military history through her books is truly impressive, and we’re proud to play a role in supporting her work.” 

Budjeryn received her MA and PhD from Central European University and BA from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Currently, she is a Senior Research Associate at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center, Project on Managing the Atom (MTA). Formerly, she held appointments of a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at MTA, a visiting professor at Tufts University, and Peace Research Institute Frankfurt. The member of the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the National Academies of Sciences and senior nonresident fellow at the Brooking Institution has had her research and analytical contributions appear in Cold War Studies, Nonproliferation Review, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and in the publications of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars where she is a Global Fellow. 

About the Colby Award 

The Colby Award, named for the late ambassador and former CIA director William E. Colby, began at Norwich University in 1999. Previous Colby Award recipients include Paul Scharre, Nisid Hajari, Thomas McKenna, James Bradley, Nathaniel Fick, Jack Jacobs, Dexter Filkins, Marcus Luttrell, John Glusman, Karl Marlantes, Adam Higginbotham, Steven Sodergren and Wesley Morgan. 

About the Pritzker Military Foundation 

The Pritzker Military Foundation supports nonprofit organizations that preserve American military history, restore historic military artifacts, and make them accessible to the public, and provide services and essential resources to active-duty military, veterans and families of service members in all branches of the United States Armed Forces. To learn more, visit 

About Norwich University 

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation's six Senior Military Colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

Source: 6.18.2024. NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University