Science and Global Security was founded in 1989 by a group of scientists from the United States and the Soviet Union, led by Frank von Hippel (see Frank von Hippel, "Each profession needs its own journal") and Roald Sagdeev (see Roald Sagdeev, "Glasnost and new journal"), to provide a forum for technical discussions on the basis for nuclear arms control and disarmament initiatives.

Harold Feiveson was the founding editor of the journal and edited the journal for over 20 years. Stanislav Rodionov at the Space Research Institute in Moscow and his colleague Oleg Prilutsky have translated and edited the Russian edition of the journal throughout its history.

The journal had published pioneering articles on detecting nuclear warheads and warhead elimination, the limits of ballistic missile defenses and space-based early warning, the runaway arms race in South Asia, the proliferation risks associated with the uranium enrichment gas centrifuge and with plutonium separation and use, the conversion to LEU of HEU-fueled reactors, the detection of concealed radioactive sources and fissile materials, verification of biological and toxic weapons disarmament, the destruction of chemical weapons, anti-satellite warfare and space debris, and a host of other topics.

In Spring 2011, Harold Feiveson was succeeded as editor of the journal by Alexander Glaser, Zia Mian and Pavel Podvig, all of whom are affiliated with Princeton University's Program on Science & Global Security. Feiveson is Editor Emeritus (see Frank von Hippel, "Foreword: A Transition").

The journal welcomes submissions of technical articles on arms-control, disarmament and nonproliferation issues. Articles for the journal should be written so that the results can be checked and reproduced by technical analysts while the essential issue and conclusions are accessible to a policy audience. Beyond providing a basis for policy, the journal publishes review articles and tutorial material suitable for university courses.