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John Steinbruner

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Professor and Director, Center for International Security Studies at Maryland

We are deeply saddened to share the news that School of Public Policy Professor and CISSM Director John Steinbruner passed away peacefully on April 16, 2015. John was a dedicated professor who loved his students and his interaction with them. He was also a thought leader and a pillar in our School’s community. We encourage you to read more about John and share your thoughts and memories of him here. 


To say that John Steinbruner always made time for colleagues and students would be an understatement. Dr. Steinbruner rarely passed up an opportunity to engage in a spirited conversation about security policy, listening carefully to questions and different points of view, and challenging others to rethink the assumptions that lay beneath their analysis. Dr. Steinbruner’s commitment to students and colleagues was emblematic of his intellectual curiosity and the generosity of spirit that he displayed throughout his professional and personal life.

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About Dr. Steinbruner

John D. Steinbruner is Professor of Public Policy at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland and Director of the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM). His work has focused on issues of international security and related problems of international policy.

Steinbruner was Director of the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution from 1978-1996.  Prior to joining Brookings, he was an Associate Professor in the School of Organization and Management and in the Department of Political Science at Yale University from 1976 to 1978.  From 1973 to 1976, he served as Associate Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he also was Assistant Director of the Program for Science and International Affairs. He was Assistant Professor of Government at Harvard from 1969 to 1973 and Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1968 to 1969.

Steinbruner has authored and edited a number of professional books and monographs, including: The Cybernetic Theory of Decision:  New Dimensions of Political Analysis (Princeton University Press, originally published 1974, second paperback edition with new preface, 2002); Principles of Global Security(Brookings Institution Press, 2000); A New Concept of Cooperative Security, co-authored with Ashton B. Carter and William J. Perry (Brookings Occasional Papers, 1992). His articles have appeared in Arms Control TodayThe Brookings ReviewDædalusForeign AffairsForeign PolicyInternational SecurityScientific AmericanWashington Quarterly and other journals.

In addition he has also published a novel, The Secular Monastery, that presents fundamental issues of security in the form of a fictional story.

Steinbruner is currently Co-Chair of the Committee on International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Chairman of the Board of the Arms Control Association, board member of the Financial Services Volunteer Corps, and Chair of the NAS/NRC on Assessing the impact of Climate Change on social and Political Stress. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. From 1981 to 2004 he was a member of the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the National Academy of Sciences, serving as Vice Chair from 1996 to 2004. He was a member of the Defense Policy Board of the Department of Defense from 1993 to 1997. In 2010 he chaired the Committee on Deterring Cyberattacks of the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council.

Born in 1941 in Denver, Colorado, Steinbruner received his A.B. from Stanford University in 1963, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968.

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