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Center for Security Studies and Security Studies Program Gets New Director

February 2, 2018 – Keir Lieber, an expert in nuclear deterrence and strategy, is the new director of the Center for Security Studies (CSS) and Security Studies Program (SSP).

Lieber, a professor at both the School of Foreign Service (SFS) and in the government department of Georgetown College, has spent his academic career researching international security theory and strategy, which also includes the causes of war, American foreign policy and international relations theory.

He replaces Bruce Hoffman, who led the center for seven years before stepping down in January.

Bolstering Research

“I have big shoes to fill – not only those of Bruce Hoffman, but also those of our predecessors,” says Lieber, who was named to the inaugural class of the Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program in 2015 to study the impact of technology on nuclear deterrence.

The new director hopes to bolster research activities at the center involving faculty, graduate and undergraduate students.

“I plan to hire new faculty, create a bigger postdoctoral fellows program, encourage undergraduate research on security studies topics and pursue new forms of collaboration with like-minded partners in government, business and elsewhere,” Lieber says.

Critical Thinking

“CSS and SSP are more relevant now than ever,” he explains. “Although some parts of academia have fallen under the sway of substantive overspecialization and methodology – the scholars at CSS/SSP understand that we have a social obligation to conduct research on relevant national and international security policy problems and to disseminate our findings in clear and simple terms to a wide audience of colleagues, students, analysts, policymakers and everyday citizens. “

He also says the nation seems to have “hit a nadir” in terms of politicians’ respect for science, knowledge and objective social inquiry.

“We at CSS/SSP remain an institution committed to critical thinking and free and open debate,” explains Lieber, the author of War and the Engineers: The Primacy of Politics over Technology (Cornell University Press, 2005) and numerous publications in prestigious journals.

Important Synergies

Lieber, who came to Georgetown in 2009 after teaching at the University of Notre Dame, holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

When he came to Georgetown, he joined his father, longtime SFS and government department professor Robert Lieber.

“The most exciting part of taking over as director of SSP is the prospect of getting to know better the interests, expertise and personalities of over 400 students, close to 100 faculty and almost a dozen staff,” Lieber says. “It is the character of these individuals and the synergies created by their collaboration that are most important and interesting – and which explain why CSS/SSP is an extraordinary place to study and work.”