Thomas M. Nichols, Ph.D.

University Professor National Security Affairs
Thomas M Nichols Profile image


Tom Nichols is a U.S. Naval War College professor, and an adjunct at the U.S. Air Force School of Strategic Force Studies and the Harvard Extension School. He is a specialist on international security affairs, including U.S.-Russia relations, nuclear strategy and NATO issues. A nationally-known commentator on U.S. politics and national security, he is a columnist for USA Today and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. He served as a staff member in the U.S. Senate and has held fellowships at CSIS and the Harvard Kennedy School. He has taught at Dartmouth, La Salle and Georgetown. He is also a five-time undefeated 'Jeopardy!' champion.

Areas of Expertise

  • Civil-Military Relations
  • Cold War
  • Deterrence
  • Foreign Policy
  • International Relations
  • NATO
  • Nuclear
  • Russia

Professional Highlights


Adjunct Professor, USAF School of Strategic Force Studies

Named one of nine inaugural professors (along with former Secretary of Defense William Perry and other new faculty) in the Air Force School of Strategic Force Studies, specializing in nuclear deterrence issues.

Fellow, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

A joint appointment in then International Security and Managing the Atom programs, where I wrote a book on nuclear strategy.

Adjunct Professor, Harvard Extension School

Teaching courses on nuclear weapons, the Cold War, and national security issues. Worked with Harvard the U.S. Air Force to create a Certificate in Nuclear Deterrence Studies.

Associate Professor, Dartmouth College

Taught comparative politics and Russian affairs in the Department of Government

U.S. Senate

Foreign policy and national defense personal staff to US Senator John Heinz.

Fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Fellow in in the Soviet Studies project.


Ph.D., Georgetown University

M.A., Columbia University

B.A., Boston University

C.V. or Resume

Research Contributions and Publications

Please see C.V.

Awards and Decorations

2018 Citta della Rose Book Prize
Awarded best foreign author prize of 2018 by the jury of Roseto degli Abruzzi, Italy, for The Death of Expertise.

2018 University Professor, Naval War College
Named a University Professor of the Naval War College, “recognizing superior scholarship and a depth of understanding and accomplishment that enables teaching across the spectrum of the College’s curriculum.”

2017 POLITICO Magazine
Named one of the “POLITICO 50” for 2017, as one of the 50 “key thinkers, doers, and visionaries reshaping American politics and policy.”

US Navy Civilian Meritorious Service Medal

Harvard University Extension School Petra Shattuck Memorial Teaching Award

Naval War College Professional Achievement Award

External Memberships and Associations

American Political Science Association

Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society

Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs

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