Michael Cohen's picture

Michael Cohen

Senior Lecturer


B.Ec. Hons I University of Sydney 2004
M.A. University of British Columbia 2006
Ph.D. University of British Columbia 2012

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 6125 5452

Room: Crawford 2.146

Dr. Michael Cohen was Partners Across the Globe Fellow at NATO Defence College, Rome from September 2022 through January 2023 and was, from December 2019 through December 2023, convenor of the NSC’s PhD program.

He has expertise in International Security with an empirical focus on the Indo-Pacific. His more specific research interests include the causes and implications for interstate conflict of nuclear weapons proliferation and international alliance dynamics, the role of political leaders and how their foreign policy decision-making can be improved and the efficacy of signalling and coercion in National Security affairs. Empirically he has expertise on the Korean peninsula, South Asia, China, the United States and the U.S.-Australia alliance. He regularly provides media commentary on these issues.

Dr Cohen’s first book, When Proliferation Causes Peace: The Psychology of Nuclear Crises (Georgetown University Press: 2017), addressed how nuclear proliferation influences states’ foreign policy. His co-edited book North Korea and Nuclear Weapons: Entering the New Era of Deterrence (Georgetown University Press: 2017, with Sung Chull Kim) addressed the impact of North Korea’s nuclear program on the Korean peninsula.

Dr Cohen’s other completed and ongoing research addresses nuclear proliferation, deterrence, leaders and foreign policy decision-making and the U.S. alliances with South Korea and Australia. It has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as European Journal of International Relations, Journal of Peace Research, The Journal of Global Security Studies, Foreign Policy Analysis, Asian Security, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, The Non-Proliferation Review, Australian Journal of International Affairs and International Security (correspondence).

Dr Cohen is interested in supervising PhD research broadly related to his interests. He has fifteen years of teaching experience in Australia, Canada and Denmark. Prior to joining the ANU National Security College in 2018, he was Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the Bachelor of Security Studies program at the Department of Security Studies and Criminology at Macquarie University (2015-2017) and Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Center for War Studies at the University of Southern Denmark (2012-2015). Dr Cohen was also a visiting scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University (2014).


Dr. Cohen has over fifteen years of teaching experience in Australia, Canada and Denmark. At the National Security College in 2024 he will convene NSPO8030 Coercion and National Security (semester 1) and NSPO8035 Australia’s Strategic Environment and Future Security Challenges (semester 2). Both of these classes have interactive and dynamic all of class wargames. He has also convened National Security: Concepts and Methods and Leadership, Risk and National Security Crisis Management. Elsewhere, he have designed and taught undergraduate and graduate courses on International Security, Nuclear Weapons, International Organisations and many other topics in Political Science and International Relations.

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