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null James Wirtz, Ph.D.

Contact Info

(831) 656-3783
Office Address:
Glasgow Hall, RM 308


Expertise: International Relations Theory, Intelligence, Deterrence, Strategy, Security Studies


James J. Wirtz joined NPS in 1990 as a professor for the department of National Security Affairs. He has taught courses on nuclear strategy, international relations theory, and intelligence while at NPS. He served as chair of the National Security Affairs Department from January 2000 and January 2005 and as dean of the School of International Graduate Studies from 2008 to 2020. He also served between 2009 and 2014 as the director of the Global Center for Security Cooperation, Defense Security Cooperation Agency. In 2016, he was honored as a Distinguished Scholar by the Intelligence Studies Section of the International Studies Association. He is also editor of the Palgrave Macmillan series, Initiatives in Strategic Studies: Issues and Policies

Professor Wirtz is a past president of the International Security and Arms Control Section of the American Political Science Association and the former section chair of the Intelligence Studies Section of the International Studies Association. He completed his third term on the governing board of the Security Studies Section of the International Studies Association in 2020In 2005, he was a visiting professor at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University. He began his teaching career at Franklin & Marshall College, Penn State University and the State University of New York, Binghamton.

A native of New Jersey, Professor Wirtz earned his degrees in Political Science from Columbia University (MPhil 1987, PhD 1989), and the University of Delaware (MA 1983, BA 1980). In 1985–86 he was a John M. Olin Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University.

Professor Wirtz is the author of Understanding Intelligence Failure: Warning Response and Deterrence (Routledge, 2017) and The Tet Offensive: Intelligence Failure in War (Cornell University Press, 1991, 1994); co-editor with T.V. Paul and Richard Harknett of The Absolute Weapon Revisited: Nuclear Arms and the Emerging International Order (Michigan University Press, 1998, 2000); co-editor with Peter Lavoy and Scott Sagan of Planning the Unthinkable: New Powers and their Doctrines for Using Chemical, Biological and Nuclear Weapons (Cornell University Press, 2000); co-editor with Jeffrey Larsen of Rockets’ Red Glare: National Missile Defense and the Future of World Politics (Westview, 2001); co-editor with Roy Godson of Strategic Denial and Deception (Transaction, 2002); co-editor with Eliot Cohen, Colin Gray and John Baylis of Strategy in the Contemporary World (Oxford, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016, 2019); co-editor with Loch Johnson of Intelligence: Windows Into a Hidden World (Roxberry, 2004); co-editor with T.V. Paul and Michelle Fortmann of Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century (Stanford: 2004); co-editor with Eric Croddy of the Encyclopedia of Weapons of Mass Destruction (ABC-Clio, 2004); co-editor with Jeffrey A. Larsen of Nuclear Transformation: The New U.S. Nuclear Doctrine (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005); co-editor with Loch Johnson of Intelligence and National Security: The Secret World of Spies (Oxford 2007, 2010, 2014, 2019); co-editor with James Russell of Globalization and WMD Proliferation: Terrorism, Transnational Networks and International Security (Routledge, 2007); co-editor with Jeffrey Larsen of Stability from the Sea: Naval Roles in Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Operations (Routledge, 2009); co-editor with Jeffrey Larsen of Arms Control and Cooperative Security (Lynne Rienner, 2009), co-editor with T.V. Paul and Pat Morgan of Complex Deterrence (Chicago, 2009); co-editor with Peter Lavoy of Over the Horizon Proliferation Threats (Stanford, 2012); co-editor with Jeffrey Larsen and Eric Croddy of Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Essential Reference Guide (ABC-Clio, 2018); and co-editor with Jeffrey Larsen of U.S. Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications. His work on intelligence, deterrence, the Vietnam war, and military innovation and strategy has been published in Air Power Journal, Annual Review of Political Science, Astropolitics, Comparative Strategy, Contemporary Security Policy, Defense & Security Analysis, Harvard International Review, Homeland Security Affairs, H-Diplo, Infinity Journal, Intelligence and National Security, International Affairs, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, International Security, International Studies Notes, International Studies Perspectives, Joint Forces Quarterly, National Security Studies Quarterly, Orbis, Osterreichische Militarische Zeitscchrift, Political Science Quarterly, Real Clear Defense, SAIS Review, Security Studies, Strategic Review, Strategic Studies Quarterly, Strategic Survey, Studies in Intelligence,  Terrorism and Political Violence, Texas National Security Review, The Journal of Strategic Studies, The Nonproliferation Review, The Naval War College Review, The Strategist, and The U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings.

Teaching Interests:

Theories of International Relations

Intelligence for Homeland Security