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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 its role in stabilizing the continent. NATO embodies the historical security link between North America and Europe, a relationship that continuously needs updating to respond to Russia to the east, instability to the south, and China on a global scale. 

My current research projects:

  • NATO's history and current trajectory: as NATO responds to Russia's war in Ukraine, how does NATO's history of collective defense weigh in on its diplomacy and policy options? Can NATO respond to the challenge posed by China and yet remain primarily invested in European defense and deterrence? I will publish a book on NATO's history and implications hereof with Yale University Press in the spring of 2024.
  • 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.

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, just as it implies an effort to communicate research insights broadly and in plain language. It is in this spirit that I serve as a senior fellow of the Danish Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS). My work is thus:

  • 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. I am currently writing a monograph for Yale University Press. My 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 a combination of conceptual and historical analysis, such as International Affairs, Survival, 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 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. In 2019, I had the honor of being appointed non-resident associate fellow at NDC. I have participated in various government commissions in Denmark and Norway. 

Research interests

NATO, geopolitics, changing character of war, defense and deterrence, security partnership, NATO-EU-UN relations, crisis management 

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