Dr Simon Smith

Associate Professor

School of Justice, Security and Sustainability

Before Joining Staffordshire University, I was a Research Officer in PoLIS at University of Bath, a Teaching Fellow at Aston University. Before my time at Aston, I was a University Teacher and the Administrator for the Centre for the Study of International Governance (CSIG) at Loughborough University. My doctoral research on the EU-NATO Relationship was also conducted at Loughborough University.

Professional memberships and activities

  • The American Political Science Association (APSA)
    - APSA Mentor

  • European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR)

  • University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES)

  • British International Studies Association (BISA)

  • International Studies Association (ISA)

Academic qualifications

  • PhD (International Relations) Loughborough University.

  • MSc (Conflict and Cooperation) University of Stirling.

  • BA (History/Political Science) Gonzaga University.

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2017)

  • Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Practice in Higher Education - Merit (Staffordshire University, 2017)


  • EU-NATO Cooperation

  • Transatlantic Security

  • European and US Defence Transformation

Research interests

I am currently disseminating (with Professor David J. Galbreath at the University of Bath) research from an ESRC funded award entitled ‘The Drivers of Military Strategic Reform in the Face of Economic Crisis and Changing Warfare'. This project tested a series of conceptual and explanatory models that help answer the central research question: What are the drivers of strategic reform in contemporary militaries in Europe? We ask whether states will be more affected by the changing financial resources, change in geo-political climate, modern changes in military doctrine, or combat experience. We aim to test the hypotheses that result from this preliminary identification of strategic drivers.

I am currently writing a monograph on the history of EU-NATO Relations.

Other research interests include:

  • EU and NATO Security Cooperation

  • EU and NATO Capabilities Transformation

  • EU and NATO Developing Security Partnerships

  • Transatlantic Security and Reforming European Defence

  • The Defence and Security Implications of an Independent Scotland

  • Institutionalism

  • International Organisations

  • International Organisation Defence and Security Cooperation

My doctoral research was a Historical Institutionalist account of EU-NATO cooperation through the ‘formal’ mechanism of Berlin Plus and alternative ‘informal’ structures.

Enterprise and commercial interests

I have been an active contributor to the UK Chief of Defence Staff’s Strategy Forum/SDSR Process as well as the NATO Strategic Foresight Analysis and Defence Planning Process.

I engage with the media regularly and am an active contributor to outlets such as the Conversation, the European Leadership Network, and Real Clear Defence as well as commenting for BBC Radio and other news sources.

I was also the primary researcher and co-author of a policy report on the implications of defence and security for an independent Scotland. This comprehensive study entitled ‘Defence and Security in an Independent Scotland’ was released in June 2013 and I have also published op-ed pieces on the subject.


  • International Relations

  • International Security

  • Issues in European Defence and Security

  • World Politics


Journal Articles

  • Smith, S.J., Gebhard, C., 2017. EU–NATO relations: running on the fumes of informed deconfliction. European Security 26, 303–314.

  • Smith, S.J., Tomic, N., Gebhard, C., 2017. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost: a Grounded Theory approach to the comparative study of decision-making in the NAC and PSC. European Security 26, 359–378.

  • ‘If We Cannot Have Both, Then Which Union Do We Choose? Scotland’s Options after ‘Brexit’’, Journal of Contemporary European Research (December 2016)

  • ‘The two faces of EU-NATO cooperation: Counter-piracy operations off the Somali coast’, Cooperation and Conflict (January 2015)

  • 'EU-NATO Cooperation: a case of institutional fatigue?’, European Security (June 2011)

Policy Reports

  • Defence and Security in an Independent Scotland, released June 2013 and funded by The Scotland Institute, Glasgow


  • EU- NATO Relations, Routledge (July, 2018)

Book Chapters

  • ‘The EU and NATO: Capacity-building of partners’ in The EU and NATO: the essential partners Edited by G. Lindstrom and T. Tardy. Published by the NATO Defence College and the European Union Institute for Security Studies. (August 2019

  • ‘Innovating European Defence’ in Contemporary European Security Editors: David J. Galbreath, Laura Chappell and Jocelyn Mawdsley, (April 2019)

  • ‘European Defence, CSDP and the UK: two cases of catch-22 in CSDP and National Perspectives published by the Egmont Institute (June, 2015)

  • ‘Military Capabilities and Force Transformation’ (with David Galbreath) in The EU, Strategy and Security Policy, Editors: Laura Chappell, Jocelyn Mawdsley and Petar Petrov, (forthcoming July 2016)

  • ‘NATO’s Partnership with Central Asia: Cooperation à la carte’ in The New Central Asia: The Regional Impact of International Actors (World Scientific), (December, 2009)

Other Publications

  • ‘What US wants from UK on security after Brexit – and why this puts Britain in a tricky position' in The Conversation (14, August, 2019

  • ‘Syria: who’s involved, and what do they want?' in The Conversation (14 April, 2018)

  • ‘Russian spy attack offers a glimpse of Britain’s future place in the world' in The Conversation (21 March, 2018)

  • ‘Defence: can Britannia ride the waves in choppy European seas? in The Conversation (25 September, 2017)

  • ‘The Brexit effect and why strong neighbourhoods matter’ in The Government Gazette (25 May 2016)

  • ‘Is the EU anywhere near getting its own army?’ in The Conversation (30 September 2016)

  • ‘Forget Putin’s global posturing – Russia’s biggest challenges for 2016 are domestic’ in The Conversation (06 January 2016)

  • ‘Britain boosts military spending – here’s what it will be buying’ in The Conversation (23 November 2015)

  • ‘Are the EU and NATO Really Committed to the International Order?’ for the European Leadership Network (24 September 2015)

  • ‘Why the Military is Divided over Britain’s Nuclear Deterrent’ in The Conversation (06 July 2015)

  • ‘Should the UK Spend More on Defence’ in The Conversation (08 June 2015)

  • ‘Why NATO and Russia are Playing a Cold War Game of Hotlines and Spooks’ (with David Galbreath) in The Conversation (19 May 2015)

  • ‘Fact Check: will renewing Trident cost £100 billion?’ in The Conversation (19 March 2015)

  • ‘Why the UK should Heed a Warning from the US over Defence Spending’ (with David Galbreath) in The Conversation (02 March 2015)

  • ‘Why our political classes won’t have any real debate on Trident until after the election in The Conversation (02 February 2015)

  • ‘European Defence, CSDP and the UK: two cases of catch-22 in European Geostrategy (01 February 2015)

  • ‘An independent Scotland might have to agree a deal on Trident to get into NATO’ in The Conversation (15 September 2014)

  • ‘To stand up to Russia, NATO must split the defence burden more equally in The Conversation (28 September 2014)

  • ‘Who Wants to Buy a Couple of Warships from France to Stop Russia Getting Them’ in The Conversation (25 July 2014)

  • ‘After Ukraine NATO has a role again, but Americans look to Europe and say: who’s paying?’ in The Conversation (1 July 2014)

  • ‘How to strengthen Scottish defence after independence: cooperate with London’ in The Conversation (24 February 2014)

UK University

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Job Prospects

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

for Student Satisfaction

Complete University Guide 2022

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

for Course Content

StudentCrowd University Awards 2022

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021