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Personal profile

Research areas

I work in the War Studies tradition with a focus on war, alliance cooperation, and efforts to control and rein in the use of armed force. I notably research NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and also the EU (European Union): their role in stabilizing the continent (enlargement; Russia; China), and their role in crisis management operations (Afghanistan, Libya) as they relate to governance issues such as the Laws of War; Protection of Civilians, Countering Violent Extremism; Stabilization; and Resilience.

My current research projects:

  • The West and war: why do Western countries tend to lose wars in spite of their overwhelming military advantages? Western government tend to fight quick and hard to obtain victory, leaving them vulnerable to more patient adversaries. What does this track record mean for Western efforts  to establish effective defense and deterrence against Russia?
  • Contemporary geopolitics: why do the main international security providers--NATO, the EU, and the UN--struggle to cohere on issues of crisis management? And how is China's rise impacting on NATO?    
  • A scholarly bias against policy relevance? I build on the "bridging the gap"--and War Studies--tradition to explore why it is that security scholarship tends to draw back from policy engagement. Comparative Danish/European research project.

My research approach is solidly anchored in the War Studies and "bridging the gap" tradition. It implies the pursuit of scholarly excellence via an engagement with society, and it is in this spirit that I serve as a senior fellow of the Danish Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS). More particularly, my approach is:

  • problem-oriented, anchored in major societal challenges;
  • conceptual, building analytical insight from the refinement of key concepts;
  • historical in character, tracing the weight of history for current politics;
  • policy relevant, drawing insights for the community of security professionals;

My publication profile:

  • I value books. My research monograph on NATO in Afghanistan (Stanford University Press, 2012) was placed on the Choice's 2015 list of Outstanding Academic Titles. I have also published books with Cambridge University Press, Brookings Press, Palgrave, I.B. Tauris, and Routledge.
  • Scholarly journal articles: I am particularly fond of publishing in journals that place a premium on conceptual analysis on the one hand and historical and political insight on the other, such as International Affairs, Journal of Transatlantic Studies, and the Journal of Strategic Studies.
  • I am always pleased to publish policy pieces--briefs, op eds etc.--that reach beyond the confines of academia.  

Finally, I enjoy "bridging the gap" activities that allow me to move between academia and policy. I have been a visiting researcher at the School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC (2017) and the NATO Defence College (NDC), Rome (2012. I hold public talks at diverse institutions. I have been lecturing at the NATO Defence College since 2012, primarily at the Senior Course but also the Generals, Flag Officers, and Ambasadors (GFOAC) short course. I had the honor of being appointed non-resident associate fellow at NDC, 2019-2020. I have participated in various government commissions in Denmark and Norway. 

Research interests

War, deterrence, alliance, NATO, security partnership, the European Union, the United Nations, protection of civilians, laws of war, countering violent extremism


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