James R. Holmes, Ph.D.

Professor Strategy and Policy Department
James R Holmes Profile Image


James Holmes holds the J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the Naval War College and served on the faculty of the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs. A former U.S. Navy surface-warfare officer, he was the last gunnery officer in history to fire a battleship’s big guns in anger, during the first Gulf War in 1991. He earned the Naval War College Foundation Award in 1994, signifying the top graduate in his class. His books include Red Star over the Pacific, an Atlantic Monthly Best Book of 2010 and a fixture on the Navy Professional Reading List. General James Mattis deems him “troublesome.”

Contact Information

Areas of Expertise

  • A2/AD
  • Asia-Pacific
  • China
  • Desert Storm
  • Diplomacy
  • Geopolitics
  • Indian Ocean
  • International Relations
  • Maritime Strategy

Professional Highlights


Professor of Strategy, Naval War College

Associate professor, 2007-2012; full professor, 2017-present. Visiting professor of national security affairs, 2016.

Faculty, University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs, Athens, GA

Taught undergraduate international relations in Honors Program and arms control at School of Public and International Affairs; research into nonproliferation, maritime counterproliferation, and export controls. Faculty Associate, 2007-present.

Staff Columnist, Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald, Athens, GA

Biweekly column on foreign and defense affairs.

Research Associate, Institute for Foreign Policy, Cambridge, MA

Research into European and Middle East defense affairs; contributing editor to quarterly series of reports titled "Security Issues in the Middle East" in conjunction with ESAI Inc., Wakefield, MA.

Surface Warfare Officer, U.S. Navy

Repair officer and gunnery officer, USS WISCONSIN (BB-64); steam engineering and damage control instructor, Surface Warfare Officers School Command, Newport, RI; military professor of strategy, Naval War College, Newport, RI.


Ph.D., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, International Relations

M.A., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Law and Diplomacy

M.A., Providence College, Mathematics

Diploma, Naval War College, National Security and Strategic Studies

M.A., Salve Regina University, International Relations

B.A., Vanderbilt University, Mathematics and German, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa

C.V. or Resume

Related Credentials

U.S. Navy Master Training Specialist

Research Contributions and Publications

A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy
Naval Institute Press
forthcoming 2018

Red Star over the Pacific, 2nd ed.
Naval Institute Press
forthcoming 2018

Strategy in the Second Nuclear Age
Georgetown University Press

Defending the Strait: Taiwan's Naval Strategy in the 21st Century
Brookings Institution Press/Jamestown Foundation

Red Star over the Pacific
Naval Institute Press
Paperback 2013

Indian Naval Strategy in the 21st Century
Paperback 2010

Chinese Naval Strategy in the 21st Century: The Turn to Mahan
Paperback 2009

Asia Looks Seaward

Nuclear Security Culture
NATO Security through Science Series/IOS Press

Theodore Roosevelt and World Order
Potomac/University of Nebraska Press
Paperback 2007

Nuclear Security Culture: The Case of Russia
University of Georgia Center for International Trade and Security

Awards and Decorations

Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Medal

Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal

Navy Achievement Medal

Naval War College Foundation Award

City of Newport Award

Top Snipe Award

Officer Engineering Instructor of the Year, Surface Warfare Officers School Command

Navy Commendation Medal

Combat Action Ribbon

Other Honors

Van Beuren Distinguished Visiting Fellow
University of Georgia, 2016

Hugh G. Nott Prize
Naval War College Review, 2008

Hugh G. Nott Prize
Naval War College Review, 2005

Carnegie Scholars nominee
University of Georgia, 2004

International Security Studies Dissertation Fellowship
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 1998-2003

Earhart Fellow
Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, 1998-1999

A. Eiken Hohenberg Scholar
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 1996-1998

U.S. Naval Institute Award
Vanderbilt University, 1987

External Memberships and Associations

Pi Mu Epsilon mathematics honorary

Naval War College Foundation

USS Wisconsin Association

Phi Beta Kappa

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