Dr James Johnson
Dr James Johnson

Dr James Johnson




Dr James Johnson is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Strategic Studies in the Department of Politics and International Relations. He is also an Honorary Fellow at the University of Leicester, a Non-Resident Associate on the ERC-funded Towards a Third Nuclear Age Project, and a Mid-Career Cadre with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Project on Nuclear Issues. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor at Dublin City University, a Non-Resident Fellow with the Modern War Institute at West Point, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, CA. He holds a PhD in Politics and International Relations from the University of Leicester. Before entering academia, he worked in the financial sector, mainly in China, and is fluent in Mandarin.

His research examines the intersection of nuclear weapons, deterrence, great power competition, strategic stability, and emerging technology – especially artificial intelligence. His work has featured in Journal of Strategic Studies, The Washington Quarterly, Strategic Studies Quarterly, Defence Studies, European Journal of International Security, Asian Security, Pacific Review, Journal for Peace & Nuclear Disarmament, Defense and Security Analysis, RUSI Journal, Journal of Cyber Policy, War on the Rocks, and other outlets.

He is the author of The US-China Military & Defense Relationship During the Obama Presidency (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) and Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Warfare: USA, China & Strategic Stability (Manchester University Press, 2021). His latest book is entitled AI and the Bomb: Nuclear Strategy and Risk in the Digital Age (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships
  • Co-Director of Strategic Studies
  • Social Sciences PG Committee, Member
  • Social Sciences Research Committee, Member
  • PIR PG Staff Student Liaison Committee, Member
  • PIR PG Exam Board Committee, Member
  • Personal Tutor
External Memberships
  • Honorary Visiting Fellow, University of Leicester
  • Non-Resident Associate, "The Towards a Third Nuclear Age: Strategic Conventional Weapons and the Next Revolution in the Global Nuclear Order," European Research Council (ERC) funded project
  • Mid-Career Cadre, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), Project on Nuclear Issues
  • British International Studies Association, Member 
  • International Studies Association­, Member 

Latest Publications

View My Publications


Research Overview

  • Strategic studies
  • Artificial intelligence & future warfare
  • Great power strategic competition
  • Deterrence theory & strategic stability
  • Political & cognitive psychology
  • Nuclear weapons policy
  • Nuclear non-proliferation & arms control issues


Current Research

Latest book projectAI & the Bomb: Nuclear Strategy and Risk in the Digital Age (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). 

Abstract: Will AI make accidental nuclear war more likely? If so, how might these risks be reduced? This research provides a coherent, innovative, and multidisciplinary examination of the potential effects of AI technology on nuclear strategy and escalation risk. The project addresses a gap in the international relations and strategic studies literature that considers how AI might influence nuclear security and future warfare. Its findings will have important theoretical and policy implications for using AI in the nuclear enterprise. The research advances an innovative theoretical framework to consider AI technology and atomic risk, drawing on insights from political psychology, neuroscience, computer science, and strategic studies. This multidisciplinary research unpacks the seminal cognitive-psychological features of the Cold War-era scholarship, offering a novel explanation for why these matter for AI applications and nuclear strategic thinking; thus, ensuring the research's policy relevance and contribution to the literature that considers the impact of military force and technological change.


Teaching Responsibilities

  • Co-Director of Strategic Studies
  • Nominated for the 2022 Excellence Award for Best Postgraduate Teaching

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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals

Other Contributions