Dr Simon Smith

Interim Associate Dean - Research&Innov

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.

I hold a PhD in International Relations from Loughborough University and an MSc in International Conflict and Cooperation from the University of Stirling. I regularly engage with media including the BBC, Real Clear Defence and the European Leadership Network. My research has resulted in invitations to address the Strategic Studies Institute at the US Army War College, the European Security and Defence College, The Royal College of Defence Studies and the Advanced Command Staff Course (ACSC) at The Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.

Currently I am the course leader for our BA and BSc Security and Intelligence Programme.

Professional memberships and activities

  • The American Political Science Association (APSA)
  • 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.
    Thesis: The European Union and NATO Beyond Berlin Plus: the institutionalisation of informal cooperation.
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • MSc (with distinction) International Conflict and Cooperation, University of Stirling.
  • Diploma in Creative Writing, University of Bristol.
  • BA (Dean’s List Honours) History and Political Science, Gonzaga University.


I am available to the media to cover a range of topics in international security and I am willing to supervise MA Research and PhD students in the fllowing areas:

  • International Security
  • International Security Governance
  • EU and NATO Security Cooperation
  • EU and NATO Capabilities Transformation
  • Transatlantic Security and Reforming European Defence
  • Disruptive Emerging Technology and Defence
  • The Defence and Security Implications of an Independent Scotland
  • Military Politics

Research interests

My research focuses on the strategic, institutional and operational relationship between the EU and NATO; drivers of European defence and security transformation; and the implications for UK constitutional matters relating to defence and security. I am Editor-in-Chief of the journal Defence Studies.

I am currently involved in a collaborative research project funded by BA/Leverhulme Grant SRG22\220631 - Has British Civil-Military Leadership Failed? Military Politics and Senior Officer Political Competencies (October 2022 – April 2024) 

I am also investigating how disruptive emerging technologies (DETs) affect, and potentially reduce, strategic stability in the international political system.

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
  • Security Studies
  • Issues in European Defence and Security


  • Researching Global Issues
  • International Security
  • MA Dissertation Supervision


Journal Articles

  • Editor of ‘Research Symposium on the New NATO Strategic Concept’ in Defence Studies (2022)
  • Smith, SJ., ‘NATO is Revived, but Challenges Remain’ in Politics Quarterly, 2022.
  • Smith, SJ., (2019) ‘Security Architecture in Europe: NATO’ published with The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore as part of their Regional Security Architecture Programme on “Contested Multilateralisms: Lessons for ASEAN”
  • 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.
  • Smith, S.J., ‘If We Cannot Have Both, Then Which Union Do We Choose? Scotland’s Options after ‘Brexit’’, Journal of Contemporary European Research (December 2016)
  • Smith, S.J., Gebhard, C., ‘The two faces of EU-NATO cooperation: Counter-piracy operations off the Somali coast’, Cooperation and Conflict (May, 2014)
  • Smith, S.J., 'EU-NATO Cooperation: a case of institutional fatigue?’, European Security (June, 2011)


  • EU- NATO Relations, Routledge (September, 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)
  • ‘Military Capabilities and Force Transformation’ (with David Galbreath) in The EU, Strategy and Security Policy, Editors: Laura Chappell, Jocelyn Mawdsley and Petar Petrov, (July, 2016)
  • ‘European Defence, CSDP and the UK: two cases of catch-22 in European Geostrategy (01 February, 2015)
  • ‘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

  • ‘Don’t Let Russia Dominate The Strategic Concept’ in War on the Rocks (June 2022)
  • Spending Review 2020: the experts react’ in The Conversation (25 November, 2020)
  • ‘NATO and the EU: a short history of an uneasy relationship’ in The Conversation (02 December, 2019)
  • ‘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 (13 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 (30 September, 2016)
  • ‘Is the EU anywhere near getting its own army?’ in The Conversation (25 May, 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)
  • ‘Putin’s Syria plans have forced Obama to face a terrible dilemma’ in The Conversation (09 October 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)
in the UK for Quality Education

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Research Excellence Framework 2021

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