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Dr William James joined the Centre for Grand Strategy as an Ax:son Johnson Research Fellow in August 2022. He is also a Senior Associate of the Oxford Changing Character of War Centre. William holds a DPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford.

Between 2018 and 2020, William was based in the United States as a research fellow at MIT’s Security Studies Program and at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. In 2020-21, he was a non-resident Hans J. Morgenthau fellow at the University of Notre Dame.

William’s work has been published in journals such as the European Journal of International Security and International Politics, as well as outlets such as The National Interest and War on the Rocks.

One of his goals is to produce academically rigorous research which is accessible and useful for policymakers. He regularly provides support and historically informed analyses to civil servants and the armed forces. William has also contributed evidence to two parliamentary inquiries on British foreign policy.

In December 2020, William won the Royal United Services Institute's Trench Gascoigne essay competition for original writing on defence and security. The essay was subsequently published in the RUSI Journal.


Research Interests

  • Grand strategy
  • Great power retrenchment
  • UK foreign & defence policy
  • Transatlantic relations
  • European security
  • Alliance politics



Book chapters:

Journal articles:

Recent policy papers:

  • ‘The challenge of grand strategic implementation’, report for the ‘Forum on Future British Strategy’, UK Cabinet Office & Centre for Grand Strategy, King’s College London (November 2020)
  • Written evidence to the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee for its inquiry into HM Government’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy (June 2020). The evidence was cited in the committee’s report, ‘A brave new Britain? The future of the UK’s international policy’ (October 2020).

Recent media articles:

Recent book reviews:

  • Review of Rivals in arms: the rise of UK–France defence relations in the twenty-first century by Alice Pannier, International Affairs, 98:2 (2022)
  • Review of Comparative Grand Strategy: A Framework and Cases by Thierry Balzacq, Peter Dombrowski and Simon Reich (eds.), International Affairs, 96:1 (2020)