Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law

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The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law
Robert S Strauss Center Logo.PNG
Established 2007
Director Robert M. Chesney
Location Austin, Texas, United States
Coordinates: 30°17′08″N 97°43′42″W / 30.285688°N 97.728429°W / 30.285688; -97.728429

The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law is a nonpartisan, multidisciplinary global affairs research center at The University of Texas at Austin. The Center is named for renowned lawyer and public servant Ambassador Robert S. Strauss.

Purpose and Activities

The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law integrates expertise from across the University of Texas, as well as from the private and public sectors, in pursuit of practical solutions to emerging international challenges. Towards that end, the Center sponsors a wide array of research programs and educational initiatives, which are described in detail below.

The Center actively disseminates its work to policymakers, journalists, scholars, students, and other interested citizens in the United States and abroad. It does so in the books, articles, and op-eds written by its fellows; through public events and television, radio, and newspaper interviews; and with written, visual, and audio presentations on the Strauss Center website.


The Strauss Center’s programmatic areas are divided between three research headings and a global engagement and service initiative.[1]

Research Programs

Destabilizing States

  • Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS): This program seeks to understand how climate change affects political stability and security on the African continent, with implications for U.S. national and international security. The CCAPS Program at the Strauss Center is funded by a Department of Defense Minerva Initiative grant.
  • Complex Emergencies and Political Stability in Asia (CEPSA): CEPSA is also funded through the Minerva Initiative at DoD, and it examines the drivers of complex emergencies in twelve countries in South and Southeast Asia in order to identify points of intervention and methods of government response.
  • Mexico Security Initiative: This program explores the high-intensity violence and political disruption in Mexico in recent years.
  • Middle East Initiative: Research in the Middle East Initiative examines how water and energy resources affect political stresses and human security in the region.
  • State Fragility: The State Fragility program analyzes the drivers of state fragility and their implications for national and international security.

Security Institutions and Technologies

  • Intelligence Studies Project: The Intelligence Studies Project is a joint initiative between the Strauss Center and the William P. Clements Center for National Security, also located at UT Austin. The program aims to provide a better understanding of the U.S. Intelligence Community through public events and conferences, in-depth research, and undergraduate and graduate courses.
  • Energy and Security Project: The Center has sponsored two student-led research projects under the Energy and Security program, including one that looks at the national security implications of oil and gas production technologies,[2] and another that examines the strategic implications of a theoretical blockade of the Strait of Hormuz.[3]
  • Special Operations Forces: This program explores the rise of asymmetrical warfare, continuous technological leaps, heightened sensitivity to military casualties, and the professionalization of armed forces.

James Baker Chair Program on Law and Security

  • Transatlantic Dialogue on International Security and Law: The Strauss Center partners with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict at Oxford to host annual conferences on international law at the University of Oxford.
  • National Security Law Studies: In partnership with the South Texas College of Law and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Strauss Center co-sponsors the annual National Security Law workshop.

Global Engagement and Service

  • Crook Fellowships: Crook Fellowship awards are given annually to graduate students with summer internships at organizations that focus on poverty alleviation and/or economic development projects abroad.
  • Brumley Next Generation Fellows: This program provides research training and mentoring opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students at UT Austin.
  • Visiting Scholars and Fellows: The Center occasionally hosts scholars from other universities, pre- and post-doctoral fellows, or practitioners on sabbatical.
  • International Security Speaker Series: The Strauss Center brings guest speakers to UT Austin through the International Security Speaker Series. Examples of previous events are provided in detail below.
  • China Speaker Series: This series of panel presentations covers different perspectives assessing the United State's strategy towards China.

For recent research from Strauss Center programs and scholars, visit For other news about the Strauss Center, visit

Strauss Center Events

The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law hosts a variety of events on pressing international issues facing the United States and the rest of the world. These events bring together scholars, students, and practitioners to share expertise and debate ideas. The Strauss Center encourages free and open exchange of ideas and welcomes speakers representing a wide array of views to discuss critical issues impacting international security.[4]

2015 Events

  • 2/5/2015 - "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society" with Julian Zelizer
  • 2/16/2015 - "Emerging Technologies and the Future of War" with Andrew James
  • 2/26/2015 - "The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security" with Bartholomew Sparrow
  • 3/2/2015 - "Climate Change Impacts as a Catalyst for Conflict" with Lt General Ken Eickmann and Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti
  • 3/4/2015 - "Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel" with Bruce Hoffman
  • 3/16/2015 - "What's Next? Surveillance Reform Post-Snowden" with Robert M. Chesney and Hanni Fakhoury
  • 3/31/2015 - "Security by Design: Homeland Security, Strategy, and Re-imagining National Security" with David Heyman
  • 4/16/2015 - "88 Days to Kandahar: A CIA Diary" with Robert Grenier (CIA)
  • 4/21/2015 - "The Future of Violence" with Benjamin Wittes
  • 4/27/2015 - "Beyond Hegemony: The U.S. and China in a Multinodal World" with Brantly Womack
  • 4/30/2015 - "Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David" with Lawrence Wright
  • 5/14/2015 - "8th Annual National Security Law Workshop"
  • 7/15/2015 - "The Transatlantic Workshop on International Law and Armed Conflict"
  • 9/9/2015 - "2015 Minerva Meeting and Program Review"
  • 9/15/2015 - "Intelligence in American Society" with CIA Director John O. Brennan
  • 9/21/2015 - "Special Operations Forces and Military Innovation" with Lieutenant Colonel Liam Collins
  • 9/24/2015 - "University of Texas Graduate Conference in Public Law"
  • 10/6/2015 - "The War in Afghanistan and al-Qaida" with Steve Coll
  • 10/14/2015 - "Beyond Engagement? Rethinking America's China Strategy" with Scott Kennedy
  • 10/16/2015 - "Symposium on Constitutions and Conflict Management in Africa"
  • 10/22/2015 - "Protecting Civil Liberties and the Nation" with Alex Joel
  • 10/28/2015 - "Crisis Mapping and the Digital Revolution in Humanitarian Data" with Patrick Meier
  • 11/05/2015 - "Start with Security: Best Practices for Developers, Start-ups, and Innovators"
  • 11/11/2015 - "Governance, Security, and State Fragility" with Ellen Laipson
  • 11/16/2015 - "Power Wars: Inside Obama's Post-9/11 Presidency" with Charlie Savage
  • 11/19/2015 - "Great Powers, Failed States, and New Frontiers: National Security Challenges in the 21st Century"
  • 12/03/2015 - "The Obama Administration's Grand Strategy" with Colin Kahl

2014 Events

  • 1/23/2014 - "Blinking Red: Crisis and Compromise in American Intelligence after 9/11" with Michael Allen
  • 1/30/2014 - "Next Generation Project Texas Assembly"
  • 2/6/2014 - "War and Peace in Time and Space" with Mary Dudziak
  • 2/24/2014 - "Careers in the JAG Corps" with Major General Tom Ayers
  • 3/8/2014 - "SXSW Interactive Workshop on Privacy, Surveillance, and the NSA" with Bobby Chesney, Timothy Edgar, Susan Landau, and Julian Sanchez (writer)
  • 3/17/2014 - "The New Middle East Cold War" with Gregory Gause
  • 3/24/2014 - "Accountability: From War Crimes to Terrorist Financing to Looted Art" with Allan Gerson
  • 4/3/2014 - "The National Security Agency at the Crossroads"
  • 4/11/2014 - "Cooperative Responses to Emerging Security Challenges across the Americas" with COL Kurt Pinkerton
  • 4/17/2014 - "Iraq's Biggest Lesson" with Stuart Bowen
  • 4/22/2014 - "Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA" with John A. Rizzo
  • 4/29/2014 - "The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World" with T.V. Paul
  • 5/15/2014 - "7th Annual National Security Law Workshop"
  • 7/17/2014 - "The Transatlantic Workshop on International Law and Armed Conflict"
  • 9/23/2014 - "U.S.-Russia Relations: A Conversation with Ambassador Jack Matlock, Jr." with Jack F. Matlock, Jr.
  • 10/6/2014 - "Net Assessment as a Basis for U.S. Grand Strategy" with Adam Lovinger
  • 10/16/2014 - "Intelligence Reform and Counterterrorism after a Decade: Are We Smarter and Safer?"
  • 10/29/2014 - "When the Bear Picked Up a Harpoon: What Soviet Whaling Tells Us about the Environment in the Cold War" with Kurk Dorsey
  • 11/12/2014 - "Why Do Rebels Resort to Terrorism, and Does It Work?" with Page Fortna
  • 11/17/2014 - "The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform"

2013 Events

  • 1/22/2013 - "The Value and Values of Diplomacy: Moral Psychology and the Search for Security in 1920's Europe" with Brian Rathbun
  • 2/14/2013 - "Japan's 3.11 Catastrophe: The Rhetoric of Crisis and Political Change" with Richard Samuels
  • 3/19/2013 - "Kennedy, Vietnam, and Audience Costs" with Marc Trachtenberg
  • 3/26/2013 - "Can China Rise Peacefully?" with John Mearsheimer
  • 4/2/2013 - "The Revolution in Military Affairs" with Jaymie Durnam
  • 4/9/2013 - "Obama's Second Chance: Middle East Policy in the President's Second Term" with Robert Satloff
  • 4/10/2013 - "The Fourth Policeman: FDR's Vision for China's Global Role" with Erez Manela
  • 4/23/2013 - "Conquered into Liberty: The Deep Origins of the American Way of War" with Eliot Cohen
  • 4/29/2013 - "The Iraq Legacy: Learning the Right Lessons" with Emma Sky
  • 10/1/2013 - "War without Deception: Democracy, Roosevelt, and the American Entry into World War II" with Dan Reiter
  • 10/10/2013 - "The Constitutional Power to Threaten War" with Matthew Waxman
  • 10/15/2013 - "Drones and Democratic Accountability" with Sarah Kreps
  • 10/23/2013 - "The Family Jewels: The CIA, Secrecy, and Presidential Power" with John Prados
  • 10/29/2013 - "The Verdict of Battle" with James Whitman
  • 11/5/2013 - "Decoding Official Secrecy: Computational Analysis of Hundreds of Thousands of Declassified Documents" with Matthew Connelly
  • 11/11/2013 - "More Equal, Less Equal: The Reshaping of America and the World in the 1970s" with Tim Borstelmann
  • 11/19/2013 - "Creative Destruction? What Happens When the Military Leaves" with Christopher Preble


  • Robert M. Chesney, Director
  • Ashley McIlvain Moran, Associate Director
  • Stephen Slick, Intelligence Studies Project Director
  • William Inboden, Associate Professor of Public Affairs and Executive Director of the Clements Center for National Security
  • Catherine Weaver, Associate Professor of Public Affairs
  • Jeremi Suri, The Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs

Distinguished Scholars

  • David Adelman, Harry M. Reasoner Regents Chair in Law
  • Michael Anderson, Lecturer
  • Zoltan Barany, Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Professor in Government
  • H.W. Brands, Dickson Allen Anderson Centennial Professor of History
  • Jason Brownlee, Professor of Government
  • Joshua Busby, Associate Professor of Public Affairs
  • Fred Chang, Bobby B. Lyle Endowed Centennial Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security
  • Terrence Chapman, Associate Professor of Government
  • Joshua Eisenman, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs
  • Gregory W. Engle
  • Kenneth Flamm, Professor and the Dean Rusk Chair in International Affairs
  • Michael Findley, Associate Professor
  • Francis Gavin, Frank Stanton Chair in Nuclear Policy
  • Eugene Gholz, Associate Professor of Public Affairs
  • Kenneth Greene, Associate Professor
  • Celeste Ward Gventer, Senior Advisor to International Ministries of Defense
  • Rana Siu Inboden, Adjunct Assistant Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs
  • Derek Jinks, Marrs McLean Professor in Law
  • Alan Kuperman, Associate Professor of Public Affairs
  • Mark A. Lawrence, Associate Professor of History
  • Huaiyin Li, Director of the Center for East Asian Studies
  • Vijay Mahajan, John P. Harbin Centennial Chair in Business
  • Pat McDonald, Associate Professor of Government
  • Michael Mosser, Lecturer
  • Paula Newberg, Clinical Professor and Fellow of Charles N. Wilson Chair in Pakistan Studies
  • Ami Pedahzur, Arnold Chaplik Professor in Israel and Diaspora Studies
  • James "Paul" Pope, CIA Officer-in-Residence, LBJ School of Public Affairs
  • Kenneth I. Shine, M.D., Special Advisor to the Chancellor
  • Michael Webber, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
  • Scott Wolford, Assistant Professor


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External links

  • Robert S. Strauss Center
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