Jeff Knopf is a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), where he serves as chair of the M.A. program in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies. Dr. Knopf is also a research affiliate with the Middlebury Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) and Stanford University’s Center on International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). Dr. Knopf received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford. Prior to joining the MIIS faculty, he taught at the Naval Postgraduate School, the University of California-Santa Cruz, and the University of Southern California. Dr. Knopf is a former editor of The Nonproliferation Review and has published research on nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, deterrence strategy, and how public opinion, NGOs, and social movements affect national security policies.
Dr. Knopf’s recent publications include a book he co-edited on Behavioral Economics and Nuclear Weapons and an article on the future of the global nuclear order published in a special issue of Contemporary Security Policy dedicated to assessing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). He is currently working with two co-authors on a book evaluating efforts to deter the Syrian government from using chemical weapons during that country’s civil war.
US National Security Policy Making This course introduces students to the formulation of U.S. national security policy. It summarizes the roles played by different governmental actors, including the President, Congress, and relevant bureaucratic departments and agencies, and describes the interagency process. It then covers the influence of domestic politics on national security policy, including the impact of interest groups, the media, and public opinion. (Open to Juniors and Seniors only) The dates of this course are JANUARY 31 through MAY 20. Registering for this course signals your interest in taking the course.
Spring 2021, MIIS courses in College Term, Spring 2022, MIIS courses in College Term, Spring 2023, MIIS courses in College Term
An introductory survey of research methods, with special attention to how research can be utilized to inform policies related to international security. The course gives particular emphasis to the processes of identifying research topics and designing research projects. It will also address the basic elements of doing policy analysis. Students who complete the course will be able to read with comprehension and critically assess research produced across a wide range of qualitative and quantitative research methods. The course will also address how to write up and present research proposals and finished research products, and will consider the ethics of doing research. The course will be conducted primarily in lecture format, but some class time will also be devoted to exercises that involve active student participation.
Spring 2022 - MIIS, Fall 2022 - MIIS, Spring 2023 - MIIS, Fall 2023 - MIIS, Spring 2024 - MIIS
This course introduces students to the formulation of U.S. national security policy. It summarizes the roles played by different governmental actors, including the President, Congress, and relevant bureaucratic departments and agencies, and describes the interagency process. It then covers the influence of domestic politics on national security policy, including the impact of interest groups, the media, and public opinion.
Spring 2022 - MIIS, Spring 2023 - MIIS, Spring 2024 - MIIS
Seminar: Deterrence and Influence Terrorism and WMD Proliferation
This seminar examines deterrence and other strategies for responding to security threats, with a focus on how those strategies might be adapted to deal with the dangers posed by terrorism and WMD proliferation. The course will survey existing research on deterrence and various alternative policy tools such as coercive diplomacy, assurance, positive incentives, and soft power. It will introduce some of the latest thinking about whether these tools are useful for influencing actors away from support for terrorism or WMD acquisition or use.
Much of Knopf’s work is motivated by concern about the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. This has led him to do research on arms control, nonproliferation, and other forms of international cooperation that seek to reduce the threats from weapons of mass destruction (WMD). He has also done work on strategies such as deterrence and security assurances that states can use to respond to security threats, including how these strategies might be adapted to deal with terrorism. Finally, he has long been interested in the potential for public opinion, NGOs, and social movements to influence government policies in these areas. In his teaching, he helps students explore how academic research can be applied to real-world policy problems. One of the classes he teaches regularly covers how the United States makes national security policy, with the goal of giving students a greater understand of how the decision-making process in the U.S. government really works.
PhD in Political Science, Stanford University, 1991
MA in Political Science, Stanford University, 1986
B.A. in Social Studies, Harvard College, 1983
Professor Knopf has been teaching at the Institute since 2012.
Co-author, with Wyn Bowen and Mattew Moran, “The Obama Administration and Syrian Chemical Weapons: Deterrence, Compellence, and the Limits of the ‘Resolve Plus Bombs’ Formula,” Security Studies 29, no. 5 (2020): 795-831.
“Regional Variations on Deterrence and Stability,” in The End of Strategic Stability? Nuclear Weapons and The Challenge of Regional Rivalries, ed. Lawrence Rubin and Adam N. Stulberg (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2018).
“After Diffusion: Challenges to Enforcing Nonproliferation and Disarmament Norms,” Contemporary Security Policy, special issue on “Nuclear Norms in Global Governance,” 39, no. 3 (2018): 367-398.
“Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation: Examining the Linkage Argument,” International Security 37, no. 3 (Winter 2012/13): 92-132. .
“NGOs, Social Movements, and Arms Control,” in Arms Control: History, Theory, and Policy, ed. Robert E. Williams, Jr. and Paul R. Viotti (ABC-CLIO/Praeger, 2012).
“The Concept of Nuclear Learning,” Nonproliferation Review 19, no. 1 (March 2012): 79-93.
Co-editor / Editor
Co-editor, with Anne I. Harrington, Behavioral Economics and Nuclear Weapons (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2019).
Editor, International Cooperation on WMD Nonproliferation (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2016).
Editor, Security Assurances and Nuclear Nonproliferation (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012).
In an article for The Conversation, Professor and Program Chair of Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies Jeffrey William Knopf writes that Russia’s likelihood of using chemical weapons in Ukraine is low but not zero.