Security Studies Program


Wednesday Seminar Series

SSP's Wednesday Seminar series for the Spring semester concludes April 29 with speaker Jonathan Caverley, from the MIT Political Science Department. His topic: "Who's Arming Asia, and Why It Matters." (Note: this is a change to the original schedule.) more information



The Security Studies Program at MIT is a graduate-level research and educational program based at the Center for International Studies at MIT. The senior research and teaching staff includes social scientists and policy analysts. A special feature of the program is the integration of technical and political analysis of national and international security problems. Security Studies is a recognized field of study in the MIT Political Science Department. Courses emphasize grand strategy, the causes and prevention of conflict, military operations and technology, and defense policy.



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John Steinbruner, Ph.D, MIT Political Science 1968

John SteinbrunerJohn D. Steinbruner, MIT Political Science Ph.d., 1968, passed away on April 16, 2015. He was Professor of Public Policy at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Director of the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM), and Co-Chair of the Committee on International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work focused on issues of international security and related problems of international policy, especially the control of nuclear weapons. His theoretical and policy analytic work is fundamental to our understanding of the significant challenges of navigating nuclear weapons competitions and avoiding disaster. He authored and edited a number of professional books and monographs, including: The Cybernetic Theory of Decision: New Dimensions of Political Analysis (1974); Principles of Global Security (2000); A New Concept of Cooperative Security (co-author, 1992); and Managing Nuclear Operations (co-author,1987). Born in 1941 in Denver, Colorado, he received his A.B. from Stanford University in 1963.


In the News

Fotini Christia has been awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship. more information


Rachel Odell has been awarded a 2015 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.


MIT News article about Fotini Christia: "Studying conflict from the ground up," MIT News Office, March 4, 2015.


Vipin Narang's book, Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era, was reviewed by Michael Krepon in a blog article titled "Nuclear Postures," February 25, 2015.


Professor Fotini Christia is a recipient of the 2015 SHASS Research Fund, to support exploratory research into political attitudes toward sectarian violence and United States foreign policy in southern Iraq.


This year's Ruina Nuclear Age dinner was held October 27, 2014, with keynote speaker Ambassador Robert L. Gallucci, His topic: "Nuclear Weapons: They're Back" more information


A Defense Concept for Ukraine

This paper was written by Professor Barry R. Posen twenty years ago. It was never published in English. Though the order of battle assumptions are no longer accurate, the basic architecture of the military problem remains. Those following events in Ukraine may find the analysis useful.


New Publications

Nick Miller and Or Rabinowitz, "Why the Iran deal is a logical extension of U.S. nonproliferation policy," The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, April 21, 2015.


Sameer Lalwani, "China's Port to Nowhere," Foreign Affairs, April 8, 2015.


The Spring 2015 issue of Early Warning, SSP's internal newsletter, is now available. read more


Harvey Sapolsky, "JIEDDO: Thank You for Your Service,", April 1, 2015.


M. Taylor Fravel, "Things Fall Apart: Maritime Disputes and China's Regional Diplomacy," in Jacques deLisle and Avery Goldstein, eds., China's Challenges, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015).


Joshua Rovner and Caitlin Talmadge, "The U.S. just leaked its war plan in Iraq. Why?" The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, February 27, 2015.


Christopher P. Twomey and M. Taylor Fravel, "Chinese Sources and Chinese Strategy,", February 23, 2015.


M. Taylor Fravel and Christopher P. Twomey, "Projecting Strategy: The Myth of Chinese Counter-Intervention," The Washington Quarterly, January 26, 2015.


Paul Staniland, "Every Insurgency Is Different," op-ed, The New York Times, February 15, 2015.


Amanda J. Rothschild, "Prez fails to call out anti-Semitism," op-ed, Boston Herald, February 13, 2015.


Kelly Greenhill, "Nigeria's Countless Casualties: The Politics of Counting Boko Haram's Casualties," Foreign Affairs (February 2015).


Barry R. Posen, "Just Say No: America Should Avoid These Wars," The National Interest, February 10, 2015.


Stephen Van Evera, "U.S. Social Science and International Relations,", February 9, 2015.


Francis J. Gavin, "Breaking Discipline and Closing Gaps-The State of International Relations Education,", February 5, 2015.


Stephen Van Evera, “European Militaries and the Origins of World War I,” in The Next Great War?: The Roots of World War I and the Risk of U.S.-China Conflict,  Richard N. Rosecrance and Steven E Miller, eds., (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 2015).


Harvey M. Sapolsky, "4 Pieces of Advice for Ash Carter," The National Interest, January 18, 2015.


Mark S. Bell and Nicholas S. Miller, "Questioning the Effect of Nuclear Weapons on Conflict," Journal of Conflict Resolution, February 2015, vol 59, no. 1, pp. 74-92.


The 2013-2014 Annual Report is now available. (link to pdf) more information