Caitlin Talmadge


My research and teaching focus on international relations and foreign policy. I specialize in security issues, including civil-military relations, military effectiveness, energy security and the Gulf, defense politics, and nuclear strategy. My most recent book, The Dictator’s Army: Battlefield Effectiveness in Authoritarian Regimes (Cornell University Press, 2015), explores sources of variation in the fighting power of non-democratic states, using archival research to examine the cases of Iran and Iraq (1980-88) and North and South Vietnam (1954-75). You can read some reviews here.

My other work has been published in International Security, Security Studies, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, The Non-Proliferation Review, and The Washington Quarterly. I also am co-author of U.S. Defense Politics: the Origins of Security Policy, with Harvey Sapolsky and Eugene Gholz, now in its second edition (2014), with a third forthcoming (2017). My writing or remarks have appeared in the New York Times, Reuters, the Financial Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Politico, Al Jazeera English, Bloomberg News, and The Hill, and on the PBS Newshour, Lawfare, and The Monkey Cage blog at the Washington Post, among other outlets.

Currently I am pursuing research projects on civil-military relations, military effectiveness, alliance politics, and the problem of how to prevent nuclear escalation in conventional wars, particularly in Asia. My work is funded by The Stanton Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York (in collaboration with colleagues from GW’s Institute for Security and Conflict Studies), and The Department of Defense’s Minerva Initiative (also in collaboration with ISCS colleagues). My past work has received support from The Smith Richardson Foundation, The Brookings Institution, Harvard University’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, The American Political Science Association, The Center for International Studies and The Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The George Washington University.

Assistant Professor

The George Washington University

ct2 <at> gwu <dot> edu