Dr James Johnson
Dr James Johnson is a Lecturer in Strategic Studies in the Department of Politics and International Relations. James 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, James 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, James worked in the financial sector, mainly in China, and is fluent in Mandarin.
James's 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, European Journal of International Security, Asian Security, Pacific Review, Defense and Security Analysis, RUSI Journal, Journal of Cyber Policy, War on the Rocks, and other outlets.
James 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 project is entitled Artificial Intelligence & the Bomb: Nuclear Strategy and Risk in the Digital Age (under contract with Oxford University Press).
Inadvertent Escalation in the Age of Intelligence Machines: A new model for nuclear risk in the digital ageEuropean Journal of International SecurityContributions to Journals: Articles
Does the United States face a multipolar future? Washington's response through the lens of technologyNational perspectives on a multipolar order. Zala, B. (ed.). 1st edition. University of Manchester press, 22 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
Artificial intelligence and the future of warfare: The USA, China, and strategic stabilityManchester University Press, London, UK. 240 pagesBooks and Reports: Books
‘Catalytic nuclear war’ in the age of artificial intelligence & autonomy: Emerging military technology and escalation risk between nuclear-armed statesThe Journal of Strategic StudiesContributions to Journals: Articles
The US, Indo-Pacific, AI and Emerging Security TechnologiesRoutledge Handbook of US policy in the Indo-Pacific. Turner, O., Aslam, W., Nymalm, N. (eds.). RoutledgeChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
- 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
Latest book project: Artificial Intelligence & the Bomb: Nuclear strategy and risk in the digital age – under contract with Oxford University Press.
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 about the strategic ramifications of using AI technology 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.
Co-Director of Strategic Studies
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Introduction: Obama’s ‘Pivot’ to Asia and Air-Sea BattleThe US-China Military and Defense Relationship during the Obama Presidency. Springer International PublishingChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
The US-China military and defense relationship during the Obama presidencyPalgrave Macmillan, New York, NY. 198 pagesBooks and Reports: Books
Washington’s Perceptions and Misperceptions of China’s Anti-access Area Denial ‘Strategy’The US-China Military and Defense Relationship during the Obama Presidency. Springer International PublishingChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
‘Guam Express’ and ‘Carrier Killers’: China’s Asymmetric Missile Threat to the United States in the PacificThe US-China Military and Defense Relationship during the Obama Presidency. Springer International PublishingChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
China's “Guam Express” and “Carrier Killers”: The Anti-Ship Asymmetric Challenge to the US in the Western PacificComparative Strategy, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 319-332Contributions to Journals: Articles
China’s Nuclear Modernisation:: The Evolution of Chinese Nuclear Doctrine, Strategic Ambiguities & Implications for Sino-U.S. RelationsNuclear Politics in Asia. Kouhi Esfahani, M., Mohammadi, A. (eds.). 1st edition. Routledge, 20 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
The US-China Military and Defence Relationship during the First Obama Administration 2009-2013: Deteriorating Military Relations in the Asia Pacific, Washington’s Strategic and Military Responses and Security Dilemma ExplanationsUniversity of Leicester.Other Contributions: Other Contributions
Washington's perceptions and misperceptions of Beijing's anti-access area-denial (A2-AD) ‘strategy’: Implications for military escalation control and strategic stabilityPacific Review, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 271-288Contributions to Journals: Articles