Security Studies Program


CDR Ryan Bernacchi, USN, to head Blue Angels

SSP Military Fellow Ryan Bernacchi will be Navy Blue Angels flight leader as his next assignment, a great honor. He will be taking over the flight demonstration team for 2016 and 2017. 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.


Lena Andrews was honored as a 2015 Graduate Woman of Excellence by MIT's Office of the Dean of Graduate Education. more information


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


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

Roundtable on Paul Staniland's book, Networks of Rebellion, (Cornell, 2014) including a review by Fotini Christia in H-Diplo/ISSF, May 11, 2015.


Harvey M. Sapolsky, "What Americans Don't Understand About Their Own Military,", May 6, 2015.


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.


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.