In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section International Security

  • Introduction
  • Journals
  • US Research Institutes
  • International Research Institutes

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International Relations International Security
Joseph Cerami, John David Young
  • LAST REVIEWED: 18 November 2020
  • LAST MODIFIED: 02 March 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199743292-0048


This bibliography highlights several major areas for the study of international security. The first area extends the study of several foundational concepts in international relations and national security studies. These concepts include (but are not limited to): international system and nation-state levels of analyses, idealism and realism, the use of force, national security or grand strategy, just-war theory, and the elements and instruments of national power (military, economic, diplomatic, and informational). These studies include histories and historical case studies and illustrate the use of concepts to inform and guide strategic and critical thinking. Today it is especially important to expand critical-thinking skills by contrasting historical cases and concepts with those more recent approaches and ideas on about national security strategy that have emerged in the aftermath of 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Emerging international security issues should focus on contemporary international, regional, and US national security issues, such as terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, national missile defense, environmental security, human security, cybersecurity, and homeland security. Most certainly, the study of international security should leave academics and practitioner with the breadth, depth, and context to develop subject-matter expertise in the current issues facing international and national policymakers. The reader should note that the sources listed here reflect the literature drawn primarily from Western and especially US sources.


Journals on international security studies continue to proliferate, as the concept of security has broadened throughout the post–World War II era. The early journals focused on what the discipline would now consider traditional foreign and defense policy issues. The topics included superpower relationships, the nuclear balance of power, and high-level defense policy and military strategic issues. The role of science and technology, advanced military systems, nuclear deterrence, and military innovation were all topics of interest. These more traditional journals include International Security, Journal of Strategic Studies, Orbis, Survival, and the Washington Quarterly. The post–Cold War period brought renewed attention to substate conflict involving long-standing religious and ethnic violence. In addition, the emergence of peace studies and transnational issues received increasing attention. Peace studies and transnational threats took center stage during the 1990s, furthered by the United Nations’ and member states’ increasing attention to peacekeeping, peacemaking, and humanitarian interventions. Journals focused more on substate actors, as well as peace and conflict research, include the Journal of Peace Research and Peace and Conflict Studies. In addition, a renewed emphasis on international development and governance issues, especially regarding failed, failing, and fragile states, added to the range of security studies. For instance, International Security and the other early journals now also routinely include articles on issues concerning national resources, energy, and the environment. The post-9/11 era, of course, saw a dramatic increase in research devoted to the subject of terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and counterinsurgency warfare. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism is an example of a journal that specifically addresses newer, emerging threats and 21st-century international security issues.

  • International Security.

    Leading journal on contemporary, theoretical, and historical security topics. Defines security broadly, including military, economic, governance, energy, science and technology, food, and natural-resource issues. In an age of globalization, trade, terrorism, and the environment are viewed as transnational security issues. Published by Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

  • Journal of Peace Research.

    Interdisciplinary and international journal of scholarly research on peace. Mix of theoretical, empirical, and policy articles on peace and conflict. Special-interest themes published periodically.

  • Journal of Strategic Studies.

    First issued in 1978. Focuses on the use of force in contemporary statecraft; the post–Cold War reshaping of world politics; and the development of innovative military technologies. Combines historical and theoretical approaches to the study of modern warfare, defense policy, and modern strategy.

  • Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs.

    Founded in 1957 as a forum for policymakers, scholars, and the informed public. Offers discourse on topics relating to American foreign policy and national security, as well as international affairs. Published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

  • Peace and Conflict Studies.

    Current theoretical and conceptual academic research on conflict analysis and resolution, peace building and peacekeeping, and humanitarian intervention. Published biannually by the Network of Peace and Conflict Studies that includes, among others, includes George Mason University and the Mershon Center of the Ohio State University.

  • Studies in Conflict & Terrorism.

    Provides insights on the origins and implications of 21st-century conflict. Theoretical and empirical studies on the growth of substate violence, the causes of these conflicts, and their resolution in the global security context. Covers contemporary threats of terrorism, ethnic and religious conflict, national resource disputes, and transnational organized crime.

  • Survival: Global Politics and Strategy.

    Journal of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Covers a range of strategic-studies issues and case studies. Articles often include detailed maps, charts, and graphics. Seeks lively, critical debates and challenges to conventional wisdom on current strategic issues.

  • Washington Quarterly.

    Journal published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Addresses strategic and security challenges, as well as public policy. Topics include the US role in the world; the emerging great powers; regional issues and flashpoints, especially in the Middle East and Asia; weapons-of-mass-destruction proliferation and missile defenses; and terrorism.

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