Security Studies Program


Wednesday Seminar Series

SSP's Wednesday Seminar series for the Spring semester continues February 25 with Steven Simon, Middle East Institute, speaking on "The US and the Middle East." 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.



The Nuclear Studies Research Initiative (NSRI) is now accepting papers for their second workshop. more information



We are now accepting fellowship applications for the 2015-2016 academic year. more information



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Jack Ruina, 91, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering

Jack Ruina

Jack Ruina, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, MIT, passed away February 4, 2015. He was instrumental in establishing the MIT Security Studies Program and was its first Director. Prof. Ruina's special interest was in strategic nuclear weapons policy. During his long career, he served on many government committees, including a presidential appointment to the General Advisory Committee, 1969-1977, and acted as Senior Consultant to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, 1977-1980.  He also held the post of President of the Institute for Defense Analyses. At MIT, he has held the position of Vice President for Special Laboratories and was Secretary of the MIT Faculty. click here for MIT News obituary


In the News

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

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 Winter 2014 issue of SSP's internal newsletter, "Early Warning" is now available. more information


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


Cindy Williams, “Regional Representation in the U.S. Military,” in Renaud Bellais, The Evolving Boundaries of Defence: An Assessment of Recent Shifts in Defence Activities (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2014).


M. Taylor Fravel, "Territorial and Maritime Boundary Disputes in Asia," in Saadia M. Pekkanan, John Ravenhill, and Rosemary Foot, eds., Oxford Handbook of the International Relations of Asia, Oxford University Press, 2014.


Joshua Shifrinson, "Put It In Writing: How the West Broke Its Promise to Moscow," Foreign Affairs, October 29, 2014.


William Luers, Thomas Pickering, James Walsh, "An Iran Nuclear Deal Is There for the Taking," The National Interest, October 15, 2014.


Paul Staniland, "Violence and Democracy," Comparative Politics, Vol. 47, No. 1 (October 2014), pp. 99-118.


Boaz Atzili, "For Israel, defense may be the best defense," The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, September 23, 2014.


Carol Saivetz, "The Price of 'Novorossiya',", September 7, 2014.


Nicholas L. Miller (with Jeremy Ferwerda), "Political Devolution and Resistance to Foreign Rule: A Natural Experiment," American Political Science Review, Vol 108, No. 3 (August 2014) pp. 642-660.


Jeanne Guillemin, "Smallpox: The long goodbye," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July 21, 2014.


Peter Krause (with Ehud Eiran), "The 'price' of radical flanks and the conflict in Gaza," The Washington Post, July 11, 2014.


Francis J. Gavin, "What new academic research can teach us about nuclear weapons," The Washington Post, July 8, 2014.


Philip Martin, "Intervention and the Prospects for Power-Sharing in Iraq," The Duck of Minerva, June 27, 2014.


Barry R. Posen, Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy (Cornell University Press, 2014)


Vipin Narang, Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era: Regional Powers and International Conflict (Princeton University Press, 2014)