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David Stuckenberg, is a Ph.D. Candidate at King’s College London where he studies hybrid warfare and its impact on NATO and contemporary deterrence constructs. His research is cross-disciplinary and covers elements of war studies, social studies, strategy, international relations, history, and technology and science.

Stuckenberg’s research is sponsored by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the United States Air Force’s Air University. He has lectured and authored internationally and frequently advises United Nations, U.S. and NATO leaders on diverse matters concerning complex warfare, competition, technology, peacekeeping, and capacity building.

David is also a Strategic Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of State and Co-founder and Chairman of the American Leadership & Policy Foundation. His leading-edge work and research has positively shaped both the U.S. national and international discourse earning him a reputation among some national defense leaders as the George F. Kennan of his generation.

Stuckenberg is also a serial business and social entrepreneur and co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of a global startup, Genesis Systems, concerned with developing state-of-the-art water technologies that uplift humanity. He is also a combat veteran and pilot with decorations including the Air Medial, Aerial Achievement Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal. He is married with five children and resides in Washington D.C..

Thesis Title

Deterrence in the Gray Zone: Evaluating NATOʼs Strategic Sufficiency


This research examines and tests the hypothesis that the contemporary North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) broad deterrence activities cannot deter able actors from undertaking strategic competitive activities in the gray zone which is characterized by hybrid warfare. In addition to testing the hypothesis, the work proposes a heuristic spectrum of conflict framework for understanding gray zone activities through a triadic qualitative research methodology comprised of war gaming, case-study vignettes, and NATO senior leader and strategist interviews and surveys. The case-study vignettes include Russia’s annexation of Crimea (2014 to present); the South China Sea disputes (1995 to present); and the Soviet-Afghan War (1979 to 1989).

Research Interests

Deterrence, Assurance, Dissuasion, Western Alliances, NATO, Cold-War, Gray Zone, Hybrid Warfare, Proxy War


Dr. Warren Chin; Dr. Andrew Dorman