Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Jeffrey Knopf

Professor and Program Chair, Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies

I am passionate about: Making whatever small contribution I can to reducing the dangers posed by nuclear weapons.

What excites me about being a professor at MIIS: Teaching at MIIS offers an opportunity to work with professional Master’s students who will go on to apply what they learn in real-world settings. I also appreciate getting to work in such a beautiful location.


Nuclear Arms Control and Nonproliferation
Utility of Deterrence, Assurance, and other Strategies for Dealing with WMD and Terrorism
International Cooperation
Public Opinion and Foreign Policy

Recent Accomplishments

  • Received a grant from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to lead a collaborative research project, initiated in early 2012, to examine “Multilateral Cooperation on Nonproliferation: Lessons Learned.”
  • Was a member of a team commissioned in 2011 by the U.S. Defense Department Strategic Multilayer Assessment program to examine “Influencing Violent Extremist Organizations.”
  • Received the Bernard Brodie Prize for the best article in 2010 in the journal Contemporary Security Policy for “The Fourth Wave in Deterrence Research,” published in the April 2010 issue.

Previous Work

I have published research on U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms control, the consequences of nuclear proliferation, the denuclearization process in Argentina and Brazil, and strategies for countering WMD proliferation such as deterrence and assurance. I have also done work on strategies for combating terrorism. In addition to my academic experience, I have worked at several NGOs concerned with U.S. defense and nuclear weapons policies. This includes a previous stint at MIIS at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, during which time I served as Editor of The Nonproliferation Review.


I received an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University. At Stanford, I worked with the late Alexander L. George and Scott Sagan, two internationally renowned experts in international security and nuclear weapons issues. I have a B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University.


“Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation: Are They Linked?” International Security (forthcoming, winter 2012). PDF/link not available yet.

Editor, Security Assurances and Nuclear Nonproliferation (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012).

NGOs, Social Movements, and Arms Control,” in Arms Control: History, Theory, and Policy, ed. Robert E. Williams, Jr. and Paul R. Viotti (ABC-CLIO/Praeger, 2012).

The Concept of Nuclear Learning,” Nonproliferation Review 19, no. 1 (March 2012): 79-93.

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

NPTG 8501 - Intl Security Rsrch & Analysis      

An introductory survey of research methods, with special attention to how research can be utilized to inform policies related to international security. The course gives particular emphasis to the processes of identifying research topics and designing research projects. It will also address the basic elements of doing policy analysis. Students who complete the course will be able to read with comprehension and critically assess research produced across a wide range of qualitative and quantitative research methods. The course will also address how to write up and present research proposals and finished research products, and will consider the ethics of doing research. The course will be conducted primarily in lecture format, but some class time will also be devoted to exercises that involve active student participation.

Fall 2016 - MIIS, Spring 2017 - MIIS, Fall 2017 - MIIS, Spring 2018 - MIIS

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NPTG 8562 - Thesis Proposal Writing      

Spring 2018 - MIIS

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NPTG 8574 - Intro to WMD Nonproliferation      

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the issues surrounding the proliferation of nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological (NBCR) weapons and their means of delivery, the consequences of proliferation, and means to stem it or ameliorate its dangers, including:

• Nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons technologies

• Means of delivery, including ballistic and cruise missile technology

• Alternative perspectives on the dangers of proliferation and the utility of the term “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD)

• Factors affecting why states do or don’t pursue and obtain nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons and their means of delivery

• Potential and actual non-state actor pursuit, acquisition, and use of NBCR weapons

• Profiles of key countries and their NBCR programs and policies

• Deterrence vis-à-vis states and non-state actors

• Counterproliferation, including the possible use of force

• The nuclear nonproliferation regime, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system

• The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC)

• The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

• Missile control regimes and other export control arrangements

• Cooperative threat reduction and various post-9/11 initiatives

• Alternative futures, including new nuclear abolition debates

Fall 2016 - MIIS, Fall 2017 - MIIS

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NPTG 8639 - Sem:Deter&InfluencTerrorsm&WMD      

This seminar examines deterrence and other strategies for responding to security threats, with a focus on how those strategies might be adapted to deal with the dangers posed by terrorism and WMD proliferation. The course will survey existing research on deterrence and various alternative policy tools such as coercive diplomacy, assurance, positive incentives, and soft power. It will introduce some of the latest thinking about whether these tools are useful for influencing actors away from support for terrorism or WMD acquisition or use.

Spring 2017 - MIIS, Spring 2018 - MIIS

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NPTG 8650 - SemNP Policymakng&IntelAnlysis      

This course provides an overview of U.S. national security policy formulation and related intelligence analysis as these apply to the nonproliferation domain. It examines the foreign policy roles and powers of key governmental actors: the president, executive branch departments and agencies, and Congress. It also addresses the characteristics and foreign policy influence of non-governmental actors: interest groups, the media, and public opinion. With this policy context as backdrop, students will then delve more extensively into the role of intelligence analysis in addressing proliferation threats. The class will provide information about the organizations that make up the U.S. intelligence community; the process by which raw information may become an intelligence assessment; and the various pressures and dynamic existing within the intelligence community. The class will also examine several cases, such as the South Asian nuclear weapons tests, North Korean uranium enrichment activities, accounting for Iraq's WMD, and Iran's uranium enrichment development efforts, where the intelligence community appears to have failed or at least faltered. Using these case studies, we will examine the reality and the fallacies underlying this perception.

Spring 2017 - MIIS

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