David A. Cooper, Ph.D.

David A. Cooper, Ph.D.

The James V. Forrestal Professor & Chair of the Department of National Security Affairs
National Security Affairs
(401) 841-3540
(401) 841-1552


David A. Cooper has served as Chair of the Department of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College since 2010 and holds a faculty appointment as The James V. Forrestal Professor of National Security Affairs. He teaches in both the college's core and elective programs. His areas of scholarly and professional expertise include nonproliferation, arms control and disarmament, weapons of mass destruction, multilateral negotiations and organizations, international relations theory, and U.S. foreign policy.  

Dr. Cooper is a scholar-practitioner who served for almost two decades on the professional staff of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), where he held tenured career appointment in the Senior Executive Service (SES). His last SES assignment was in a 2-star equivalent position at the fledgling U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), where he established and led one of six joint directorates (J-9) that was responsible for partnership and strategic communication. Before that he served as the Pentagon's Principal Director for Homeland Security Integration, managing strategic planning and coordination of the Defense Department’s various homeland security missions. Previously he served as the Director of the Office of Nonproliferation Policy, overseeing efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction and their missile delivery systems. In this capacity he also led the U.S. Delegation to the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) Operational Experts Group and served as the U.S. Representative to the Second United Nations Panel of Governmental Experts on Missiles. Prior to that he was the Deputy Director and then Director of the Office of Strategic Arms Control Policy, overseeing negotiation and implementation of various bilateral and multilateral nuclear treaties and agreements such as the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START), Moscow Treaty, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) negotiations. He also served in several previous assignments at increasingly senior levels focusing on arms control, nonproliferation, and regional security. He first came to the Pentagon in 1990 as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF).

He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from The Australian National University (2000), a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (1990), and is a graduate of Oberlin College (1987) where he majored in government and history. He is the author of a book and various chapters and articles including most recently in the scholarly journals Foreign Policy Analysis, The Nonproliferation Review, and The Journal of Diplomacy and International Affairs, as well as in policy-oriented publications such as The Washington Quarterly, The National Interest and Strategic Forum. He is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and a number of other scholarly and professional organizations. He has held previous academic appointments as a resident Senior Research Fellow at the National Defense University's Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Adjunct Professor of U.S. Foreign Policy at American University's School of International Service, and Adjunct Associate Professor of International Affairs at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service.

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