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Nancy Collins

Lecturer and Chair, Defense and Security Studies

N. W. Collins specializes in U.S. defense, national security, and military technology.   

Dr. Collins serves as the chair of Defense and Security Studies at Columbia University. Joining the University in 2004, she teaches security studies and contemporary history, advises graduate capstones, and previously directed a research institute in regional studies.  

Since 2010, Collins has worked on special projects for the U.S. Department of Defense, as a senior advisor or strategic consultant, dedicated to national mission priorities and leadership assessments. 

Over the past three decades, Collins has received fellowships and grants from, among others, the University of Chicago, Harvard University, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Yale University. Collins is a recipient of the U.S. Congressional Dirksen Award and the NCAFP 21st Century Leadership Award.

She is the author of Grey Wars (Yale University Press), an analysis of America's shifting forms of warfare. Her next book, Mission X, focuses on how the United States builds strategic technology. Her essays and commentaries appear in a range of publications, including Forbes, The New York Times, TIME, U.S. News and World Report, and The Wall Street Journal.

Collins is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Commission on Military History. She has served as a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, at West Point, and at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. She attended the Loomis Chaffee School and served on its Board of Trustees for a decade. She received a BA in government from Georgetown University and a PhD in history from the University of London, where she was named the Thornley Fellow, an international prize.