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Professor John  Gearson

Professor John Gearson

  • Academics
  • Supervisors

Head of the School of Security Studies

Director at the Centre for Defence Studies. Professor of National Security Studies .

Research subject areas

  • Conflict
  • Security

Contact details


John Gearson is the Head of the School of Security Studies, King's College London. A Professor of National Security Studies, he is also Director of the Centre for Defence Studies in the Department of War Studies, and previously served as Director of the Freeman Air & Space Institute between 2020-2022.

From 2002 to 2007 he was seconded to the House of Commons where he acted as the principal defence policy adviser to the Defence Select Committee and as a Parliamentary Clerk to the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee. While at Parliament he was responsible for inquiries into UK Defence and Security, the Iraq War, the New Chapter to the Strategic Defence Review, the 2003 Defence White Paper, and the Freedom of Information Act. After leaving Parliament he acted as a senior adviser to the UK Ministry of Defence study into the Military Role in Counter-Terrorism and more recently contributed to background work for the 2010 UK Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Prior to his time at Parliament, he was Director of the MA in Defence Studies at the Joint Services Command and Staff College at the UK Defence Academy, where he was the subject lead in terrorism and asymmetric warfare. Previously he worked as a management consultant and was a special advisor to the City of London Corporation on the terrorist threat to the City following the Bishopsgate bombing of 1993.

He has taught at the University of London on the inter-collegiate history programme, where he completed his MA and PhD degrees in War Studies, the latter as a King's College Scholar, and he also holds a BSc (Econ) in International Politics with Strategic Studies from University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He was a Research Fellow of the Nuclear History Project and the German Historical Institute, London. He was editor of 'World Defence Systems' from 2008-2013 and is a member of the editorial board of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism.

Research Interests

His areas of research include:

  • National Security Strategy
  • Terrorism and Asymmetric Conflict
  • Defence Policy
  • British Foreign and Security Policy
  • Diplomatic History
  • Cold War History


Please visit the Research Portal for a list of publications


He teaches and convenes the following MA module:

7SSWM017 Contemporary British Security

PhD Supervision

He is happy to offer PhD supervision in the following topic areas:

  • National Security Strategy
  • Terrorism and counter-terrorism
  • UK Foreign, Defence and Security Policy
  • Cold War History