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Josef Korbel School of International StudiesSié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy



Julia Macdonald


Dr. Julia Macdonald is an Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies where her research focuses on state threat assessments, use of force decisions, and U.S. military strategy and effectiveness. Her recent work has appeared in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Strategic Studies, Foreign Policy Analysis, Armed Forces and Society, and in various policy outlets. Previously, Dr. Macdonald was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Perry World House, a pre-doctoral fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a Stanton Nuclear Security fellow in the Security Studies Program at MIT. She has worked for the RAND Corporation in Washington D.C., the New Zealand Ministry of Defense, and is an adjunct research associate at the Center for a New American Security in Washington D.C. Dr. Macdonald holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the George Washington University, an M.A. (Hons) in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. (Hons) from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Highlighted Works


Signs Mobilization strategic studies foreign policy analysis 

Small Footprint, Small Payoff: The Military Effectiveness of Security Force Assistance
Stephen Biddle, Ryan Baker, and Julia Macdonald
in Journal of Strategic Studies (2017)

Presidential Risk Orientation and Force Employment Decisions: The Case of Unmanned
Julia Macdonald and Jacquelyn Schneider
in Journal of Conflict Resolution(2017)

Innovation Inhibitors in War: Obstacles in the Pursuit of Military Effectiveness
Adam Jungdahl and Julia MacDonald
in Journal of Strategic Studies (2015)

Eisenhower's Scientists: Policy Entrepreneurs and the Test-Ban Debate

Julia Macdonald in Foreign Policy Analysis (2015)


Books and Book Projects

Credibility in Crisis: The Role of Leadership Beliefs in State Threat Assessments (book manuscript in process)

Journal Articles

"Small Footprint, Small Payoff: The Military Effectiveness of Security Force Assistance," with Stephen Biddle and Ryan Baker, Journal of Strategic Studies (2017).

"Presidential Risk Orientation and Force Employment Decisions: The Case of Unmanned Weaponry," with Jacquelyn Schneider, Journal of Conflict Resolution 61:3 (2017).

"Innovation Inhibitors in War: Obstacles in the Pursuit of Military Effectiveness," with Adam Jungdahl, Journal of Strategic Studies 38: 4 (2015). 

"Eisenhower's Scientists: Policy Entrepreneurs and the Test-Ban Debate 1954-58," Foreign Policy Analysis 11:1 (2015). 

"Explaining the Variation in Gender Composition of Personnel Contributions to UN Peacekeeping Operations," with Kerry Crawford and James Lebovic, Armed Forces and Society 41:2 (2015). 

"Establishing a Marketplace of Women in Peacekeeping: An Analysis of Gender Mainstreaming and its Viability in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations," with Kerry Crawford, Air and Space Power Journal 4:1 (2013). 

Book Chapters

"South Korea" in Eli Berman and David Lake, eds. Proxy Wars: Suppressing Transnational Violence Through Local Agents. Forthcoming. 

"North Korea," in Karl DeRouen and Paul Bellamy, eds. International Security and the United States (Connecticut: Praeger Security International, 2007). 

Policy Publications

"Why Troops Don't Trust Drones: The 'Warm Fuzzy' Problem" (with Jacquelyn Schneider), Foreign Affairs (2017). 

"Will Killer Robots Be Banned? Lessons from Past Civil Society Campaigns" (with Michael Horowitz), Lawfare (2017). 

"When Shows of Strength are Risky: The Case for Restraint on North Korea" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (2017). 

"How Will Trump Wage War? What Early Signs of a Risk-Acceptant President Mean for US Military Operations" (with Jacquelyn Schneider),  Political Violence at a Glance (2017). 

"Trump voters don't like women in military combat roles. That may have consequences for the use of force." (with Jacquelyn Schneider), Washington Post (2016).  

"US Public Support for Drones: Separating Fact from Fiction" (with Jacquelyn Schneider), Political Violence at a Glance (2016). 

" Liberal Disorder and Decay: Deepening Strategic Trust between Japan, the United States, and Europe " The German Marshall Fund (2016). 

"Next Generation Perspectives on the Future of Asian Security: Australia and New Zealand" The German Marshall Fund (2015). 

" An Anglo-French 'Pivot': The Future Drivers of Europe-Asia Cooperation " (with Anna di Mattia), The German Marshall Fund (2014). 

"Halting the ISIS Advance: The Case for Manned versus Unmanned Aircraft" (with Jacquelyn Schneider), International Relations and Security Network (2014). 

Commentary and Other Publications

"The Trump Administration Wants to Send More Military Advisors to Afghanistan. Good Luck with That," with Stephen Biddle and Ryan Baker, The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage (May 15, 2017).

"U.S. Public Support for Drone Strikes," with Jacquelyn Schneider, Center for a New American Security (September 20, 2016).

"Why Americans Love Drones," with Jacquelyn Schneider, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (August 24, 2016).

"Views from the Ground on the A-10 Debate," with Jacquelyn Schneider, War on the Rocks (March 16, 2016).

"Five Costs of Military Innovation," with Lena Andrews, War on the Rocks (February 18, 2016). 

"Sensible Sanctions: Using Financial Penalties the Right Way" with Eric Lorber, Foreign Affairs (May 28, 2015).