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Professor John Gearson

Vice Dean - International, Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy

Professor of National Security Studies 

Gearson2018Department of War Studies

Room K6.57

King's College London


London WC2R 2LS
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1983
Fax: +44 (0)20 7848 2026

Appointments by email only. 





I am Professor of National Security Studies, Vice Dean - International for the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy and Director of the Centre for Defence Studies in the Department of War Studies at King's College London. From 2002 to 2007 I was seconded to the House of Commons where I 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 I was responsible for inquiries into Defence and Security of the UK, 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 I 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 my time at Parliament, I was Director of the MA in Defence Studies at the Joint Services Command and Staff College at the UK Defence Academy, where I was the subject lead in terrorism and asymmetric warfare. Previously I 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. I have taught at the University of London on the inter-collegiate history programme, where I completed my MA and PhD degrees in War Studies, the latter as a King's College Scholar, and I also hold a BSc (Econ) in International Politics with Strategic Studies from University of Wales, Aberystwyth. I was a Research Fellow of the Nuclear History Project and the German Historical Institute, London. I was editor of World Defence Systems from 2008-2013 and am a member of the editorial board of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism.

Research Interests

My areas of research include:

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

Current activities & research

I am currently working on: the role of deterrence in terrorism; the implications of the military covenant; and the duty of care on current defence policy; and, on a study into the oversight of British Security Policy. My recent article 'Deterring Conventional Terrorism:  From Punishment to Denial and Resilience', was published by Contemporary Security Policy Volume 33, Issue 1, April 2012.


Please visit the Research Portal for a list of publications


I teach and convene the following MA module:

7SSWM017 Contemporary British Security

PhD Supervision

I am 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
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