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Global Security Program

The Baker Center’s Global Security Program has two tracks: Nuclear Security and Conflict Processes. These tracks are led by two Baker Fellows, Dr. Howard Hall and Dr. Krista Wiegand and offers research, courses, and events related to each of their areas of expertise.


Institute for Nuclear Security

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The Institute for Nuclear Security (INS), led by Dr. Howard Hall, Governor’s Chair in Nuclear Engineering, focuses on the shifting landscapes of science, technology, and policy, and how these and other factors can affect the political and cultural environment of security, both at home and abroad.

The INS hosts educational events that examine issues related to nuclear security and safety, weapons of mass destruction, cybersecurity and related issues. The Institute works closely with such organizations as: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Y-12, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, State Department, Department of Defense and others throughout the world. The INS also offers a Global Security Studies curriculum, a certificate program that instructs students on the interrelationships that exist between and are related to the security of nation-states. Students study political science, economics, and engineering in order to understand the interaction of these fields within the global security arena.

Conflict Processes

The Conflict Processes research program, led by Dr. Krista Wiegand, Faculty Fellow at the Baker Center, focuses on war, crises, international and civil conflict resolution, territorial and maritime disputes, piracy, terrorism and other political violence, and foreign policy. The program hosts brownbag talks by UT faculty and graduate students, a lecture series on different aspects of global security and foreign policy, and a bi-annual conference on some aspect of prevention, management, and resolution of international conflicts, civil wars, terrorism or other political violence. Courses on these topics are also conducted, including recent projects with the State Department’s Diplomacy Lab. Current research conducted by researchers in the Conflict Processes Program include:

  • a two year Minerva grant (2015-2017) directed at UT by Dr. Wiegand, with University of North Texas, University of Iowa, and University of Georgia to collect data on identity claims by states on behalf of non-state actors.
  • a two year Minerva grant (2014-2016), directed by Dr. Brandon Prins, a Professor in the Department of Political Science and Global Security Fellow at the Baker Center, to collect and study data on the incidence of piracy off the coast of Africa. This project looks at ways to improve safety on the seas and policies to address these issues.
  • a pilot study, directed by Dr. Matt Buehler, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Global Security Fellow at the Baker Center, collecting event data on non-state violent groups in the Arab world, using Arabic news sources.

Post-Doc and Graduate Researchers

Post Doc Researchers

Dr. Eric Keels is a post-doctoral research fellow in global security at the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy. Keels’ primary research agenda explores the intersection of democracy and civil war. His research focuses on civil wars, international mediation efforts, and the durability of peace after civil wars. His research explains how peace agreements can ensure durable peace after civil wars end as well as how post-war governments can promote democracy without triggering a renewal of violence.

Topics of expertise: Civil war, ethnic violence, election violence, international mediation, peace agreements, resource curse, and conflict management.

Dr. Anup Phayal is a post-doctoral fellow at the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy and his areas of study are civil wars and post-conflict peacebuilding. His works have examined factors that influence duration and termination of armed conflicts. In peacebuilding, he has researched on voting behavior in post-conflict countries and also on disarmament of ex-combatants. In the past, he has served as a military officer in Nepal and as a UN peacekeeper in East Timor and Sudan.

Graduate Student Researchers

Harrison Akins, from Maryville, TN, is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science, focusing on International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Public Policy. He earned a BA in History from American University, an MA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics. Prior to coming to UT, he was an Ibn Khaldun Chair Research Fellow at American University’s School of International Service, working with the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, Ambassador Akbar Ahmed. His research interests include intra-state conflict, terrorism, minority discrimination, Islamic culture and politics, South Asian politics, and US foreign policy. His writings have appeared in a number of outlets, including Foreign Policy, BBC, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, India Times, Christian Science Monitor, and the Guardian.

Erik Beuck, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Economy. Erik is from Ohio and his research interests include international conflict, terrorism, and political violence.

Aaron Gold, from Raleigh, North Carolina, is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science. He earned a BA in Political Science from The Citadel and an MA in International Studies from East Carolina. His research interests are international relations, interstate conflict, terrorism, mediationand research methods. His work has appeared in Conflict Management and Peace Science


Global Security News




Resources & Research


Global Security

Raising the Stakes: How Oil Wealth Threatens Peace After Civil War



Blog

Dr. Krista Wiegand’s Fulbright Experience in Manila



Global Security

China: Social Media and Public Diplomacy with the U.S. State Department



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