David A. Cooper

Non-resident Senior Fellow

Dr. David A. Cooper is a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and the James V. Forrestal Professor Emeritus of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College.

He is a hybrid scholar-practitioner with more than three decades of expertise in nuclear policy, arms control negotiations, nuclear and missile nonproliferation, and foreign and defense policy. He previously held a tenured post as the James V. Forrestal Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College and served eight years as Chair of the Department of National Security Affairs. He is the author of numerous books, chapters, and articles. His most recent books are Arms Control for the Third Nuclear Age: Between Disarmament and Armageddon (Georgetown University Press, 2021) and, with Nikolas Gvosdev and Jessica Blankshain, Decision-Making in American Foreign Policy: Translating Theory into Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2019). His articles have appeared in journals including Foreign Policy Analysis, International Studies Perspectives, Nonproliferation Review, Orbis, Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, and Washington Quarterly. He previously served as a Senior Fellow and Director of Education and Outreach at the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction at the National Defense University and he has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Georgetown University, American University, and Park University.

Prior to becoming an academic, he served for nearly twenty years as a policy official in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) including as a career tenure member of the Senior Executive Service (SES). In his last SES assignment, he was dual-hatted as the inaugural Director of Strategic Communication and Interim Director of Outreach (J-9) at the then-new U.S. Africa Command. Prior Pentagon roles included Principal Director for Homeland Security Integration, Director of Nonproliferation Policy, and Director of Strategic Arms Control Policy. He has extensive international negotiating experience in roles such as U.S. Representative to the United Nations Panel of Governmental Experts on Missiles, U.S. Head of Delegation to the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) Operational Experts Group, and OSD representative to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Protocol negotiations, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Arms Control and Regional Security (ACRS) talks of the Middle East Peace Process, and in numerous bilateral negotiations including with Russia, China, and North Korea. He has extensive regional security experience with the Indo-Pacific, Europe-NATO, and the Middle East.  


Ph.D. in political science and international relations
College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University

Master of International Affairs (MIA) in international security policy
School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

B.A. in history and government
Oberlin College