Research Interests: Democracies in conflict, domestic politics and war, military intervention, civil-military relations, nuclear negotiations and arms control, U.S. foreign policy, technology and battlefield effectiveness, public opinion and war, multi-method research design and political methodology.
I am motivated to understand the politicization of warfare and effect of democratic institutions on state conduct during conflict. I ask an important yet understudied question in international relations: Do domestic political institutions affect the way that states fight wars, and if so, why? My book evaluates the effect of domestic politics on the execution of military operations on the battlefield and finds that civilian leaders manipulate wartime military operations in order to satisfy short-term public preferences in the lead-up to an election. It fills important gaps in multiple areas of international security studies: civil-military relations, bargaining during war, studies of battlefield effectiveness, and theories of state behavior during conflict. I use qualitative and quantitative evidence from World War II, Vietnam, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to show that domestic politics profoundly influence civilian decision-making during conflict, and that this influence is most pronounced in the months immediately preceding an election. This work also inspires current research that challenges conventional understandings of the nature of counterinsurgency operations and the impact of organizational and bureaucratic pressures on military operations and effectiveness. In addition to developing the dissertation project into a book manuscript, future research will focus on testing the broader implications of my theory cross-nationally and evaluating its applications in other areas of international relations, including nuclear strategy and alliance building. You can view and download my PhD dissertation here.
Papers Under Peer Review
- “Use It or Lose It: Domestic Influences on Counterinsurgency Strategy” (with MAJ John Kendall) Revise and Resubmit
- “Counterinsurgency Myths and Methods: Evidence from the Iraq War” currently under peer review
- “Electoral Politics, Party Polarization, and Arms Control: New START in Historical Perspective” currently under peer review
- “Democracy and Diversionary War: A Critical Analysis” currently under peer review
- “Combat Operations and Counterinsurgency: Data and the Iraq War” currently under peer review
- “The Role of Race and Religion in support for Armed Humanitarian Intervention: Evidence from a Survey Experiment” (with Jonathan Chu) Last presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Sept 2017
- “The Politics of Military Operations: Evidence from Vietnam” Last presented at Journeys in World Politics, May 2017
- “Domestic Sources of Alliance Formation” Last presented at the Biannual Inter-University Seminar Chicago, Oct 2015
- “Domestic Politics, Civilian Casualties, and the Strategic Bombing Campaigns of World War II” Last presented at ISA New Orleans, Feb 2015
- “Liberation Technologies and the Arab Spring; Constraints, Controls, and Capabilities” Last presented at ISA San Francisco, Mar 2013.
- “Reimagining the Character of Urban Operations for the United States Army” (With Gian Gentile, David Johnson, Lisa Saum-Manning, Raphael Cohen, Shara Williams, Michael Shurkin, Brenna Allen, and Sarah Soliman). 2017.
- “Hypersonic Missile Nonproliferation: Hindering the Spread of Hypersonic Glide Vehicles and Hypersonic Cruise Missiles” (With Richard Speier, George Nacouzi, and Rich Moore) Expected Release September 2017
Work in Progress
- “Counting Down: Democratic Politics, Casualties, and Military Operations During Combat”
- “Hypersonic Weapons and Nuclear Posture: A Game Theoretic Analysis”
- “Technology, Media, and Public Casualty Sensitivity”
- “Indirect Politicization: The Politics and Perceptions of Program Effectiveness in the Military” (with MAJ John Kendall)