Thomas M. Nichols, Ph.D.

Thomas M. Nichols, Ph.D.

Course Director for Security, Strategy, and Forces
National Security Affairs
(401) 841-7507


Thomas M. Nichols is a professor of national security affairs in the National Security Decision Making Department, where is also the Course Director for Security, Strategy, and Forces. A former Secretary of the Navy Fellow at the Naval War College, he previously taught international relations and Soviet/Russian affairs at Dartmouth College and Georgetown University. He is a former chairman of the Strategy and Policy Department at the Naval War College, for which he was awarded the Navy Civilian Meritorious Service Medal in 2005. He holds a PhD from Georgetown, an MA from Columbia University, the Certificate of the Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union at Columbia, and a BA from Boston University.

Dr. Nichols was personal staff for defense and security affairs in the United States Senate to the late Sen. John Heinz of Pennsylvania, and was a Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. He has been an Associate of the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard University, and he is currently a Senior Associate of the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs in New York City and a Fellow of the International History Institute at Boston University. Since 2008, he has been a Fellow in the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where he also teaches courses on “The Future of War” and “Nuclear Weapons and International Security.” He is the author of several books and articles, including The Sacred Cause: Civil-Military Conflict Over Soviet National Security, 1917-1992, The Russian Presidency: Society and Politics in the Second Russian Republic, and Winning the World: Lessons for America’s Future from the Cold War. His most recent book, about the revolutionary changes taking place in the way nations go to war, is Eve of Destruction: The Coming Age of Preventive War (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008). At Harvard’s Project on Managing the Atom, he is working on a book tentatively titled No Use: Nuclear Weapons and the Reform of American Security Strategy. He has been a regular commentator for various media, including CNN, the BBC, and local, national, and international publications.

Dr. Nichols is also a five-time undefeated Jeopardy! champion, and appeared in both the 1994 Tournament of Champions and the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions, which featured the top 100 Jeopardy! players from previous years.

Tom Nichols home page at the Kennedy School, including links to recent publications.

Material and external links contained herein are made available for the purpose of peer review and discussion and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Naval War College, Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.

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