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null Donald Abenheim, Ph.D.


Contact Info

(831) 656-2208
Office Address:
Glasgow Hall, Room 315

Associate Professor

Expertise: European Security, Central Europe


Abenheim is a historian of war and politics in European, German and US history and a consultant on contemporary defense institution building and international defense education to various Euro Atlantic defense ministries and defense academies as well as NATO. He founded the Center for Civil Military Relations (CCMR) at the Naval Postgraduate School in 1993 amid the enlargement of NATO.

Abenheim was a national fellow at Hoover Institution at Stanford University in 1988, and a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution from 1988 until 2004 and a Research Fellow from 2004 until 2012.

From 1994 until 2000, he organized seminars in NATO’s enlargement of democratic civil-military relations at NATO headquarters and in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Austria, and Georgia for ministries of defense as they made the transition from the Soviet system of civil-military relations.

Prior to his role at CCMR, he was a consultant to the strategic directorates of the Army and Navy staffs, as well as to the Office of Net Assessment of the US Department of Defense.

Before completing his doctoral studies, he was a civilian staff member of the US Army, Europe, liaising with the German forces on burden sharing; an archivist at the Hoover Institution focusing on Germany in the twentieth century; and a museum curator at the Presidio of San Francisco whose specialty was the US Army with a focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and military regalia.

He received a PhD degree in European history from Stanford University in 1985.

Teaching Interests:

History of Modern Europe

War and Culture in Europe

Security and Politics in Europe and North America

US-European Relations in the Past and Present

Recent Publications:

Donald Abenheim with James Russell. The Fortress and the Dagger: Russian Global Posture of Anti Access and Area Denial: Implications for the U.S. Navy and American Sea Power in the 21st Century. Monterey, CA: Naval Postgraduate School, 2019. 

Rachel Epstein, Donald Abenheim, and Carolyn Halladay. “Radicalization in the German Armed Forces and Beyond.” Denver Dialogues, May 7, 2019.

Donald Abenheim et al. “American Sea Power in the Contemporary Security Environment.” OMZ Online (March 2019).  

Donald Abenheim. “Bundeswehr and Alternative für Deutschland (AfD): ‘Die Soldatenpartei’?” In Jahrbuch Innere Führung 2019: Bundeswehr im Aufbruch, edited by Uwe Hartmann and Claus von Rosen, 4778. Berlin: Miles Verlag 2019. 

Donald Abenheim and Uwe Hartmann. Einführung in die Tradition der Bundeswehr: Das soldatische Erbe in dem besten Deutschland, das es je gab. Berlin: Miles-Verlag, 2019.

Donald Abenheim. “Die Quadriga aus Narrativ, Tradition, Hybrid, und Resilienz: Die Schaffung einer Strategie in 21, Jahrundert, oder: Der Schatten der Niederlage im gegenwartigen Konflikt. In Wiener Strategie-Konferenze 2018, edited by Wolfgang Peischel, 159–172. Berlin: Miles-Verlag, 2019.

Donald Abenheim. “Vojenske vztahy mezi Spojenymi staty a Evropou,” In Dejiny bez hranic?, edited by Jörg Echternkamp and Mack Hans-Hubertus. Prague, Czech Republic: Academy of Science, 2019. 

Donald Abenheim et al. “American Sea Power in the Contemporary Security Environment.” Comparative Strategy 37, no. 5 (2018): 391–403. 

Donald Abenheim. “Geschichtsverwertung: Gedanken zur US Strategic Culture als Geistesgeschichte.” In Wiener Strategie-Konferenze 2017, edited by Wolfgang Peischel, 136–156. Berlin: Miles-Verlag, 2018. 

Donald Abenheim and Uwe Hartmann, eds. Tradition in der Bundeswehr: Zum Erbe des deutschen Soldaten und zur Umsetzung des neuen Traditionserlasses. Berlin: Miles-Verlag, 2018. 

Epstein, Rachel, Donald Abenheim, and Marc-André Walther. “Burden-Sharing within NATO: Facts from Germany for the Current Debate.” Denver Dialogues, August 7, 2018. 

Donald Abenheim, and Carolyn Halladay. Soldiers, War, Knowledge and Citizenship: German-American Essays on Civil-Military Relations. Berlin: Miles-Verlag 2017.  

Donald Abenheim, and Carolyn Hallday. Save the Citizen in Uniform! Potsdam: Center for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr, 2017. 

Rachel Epstein interview with Donald Abenheim and Carolyn Halladay. “From Stability to Charlottesville: What to Look for in the German Elections.” Denver Dialogues, September 12, 2017. 

Donald Abenheim and Carolyn Halladay. “Thoughts on Strategy Yesterday and Today.” In Wiener Strategie-Konferenz 2016: Strategie neu denken, ed. Wolfgang Peischel. Berlin: Miles-Verlag, 2017. 

Rachel Epstein, and Donald Abenheim. “Understanding the ‘Alternative for Germany’: Origins, Aims, and Consequences.” Denver Dialogues, 22 November 2016. 

Donald Abenheim. Military Relations between the United States and Europe.” In Geschichte ohne Grenzen? Europäische Dimensionen der Militärgeschichte vom 19. Jahrhundert bis heute, edited by Jörg Echternkamp and Hans-Hubertus Mack. Berlin: De Gruter, 2016. 

Donald Abenheim and Carolyn Halladay. “Professional Soldiers and Citizens in Uniform: Some Thoughts on Innere Führung from a Transatlantic Perspective.” Innere Führung 1 (2016). 

Donald Abenheim et al. Navy Strategy Development: Strategy in the 21st Century. Monterey, CA: Naval Postgraduate School, 2015. 

Donald Abenheim. “The Democratic Civil-Military Relations of Austerity: Thoughts about the Past and the Present.” In The Armed Forces: Towards a Post-Interventionist Era?, edited by Gerhard Kümmel and Bastian Giegerich, 81–91. Vol. 14, Schriftenreihe des Zentrums fur Militargeschichte und Sozialwissenschaften der Bundeswehr Series (Berlin: Springer, 2013).