Photo Olsen, John Andreas

John Andreas Olsen

Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies
Professor II

John Andreas Olsen is a colonel in the Royal Norwegian Air Force currently assigned to NATO Headquarters in Brussels, a professor at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, a non-resident senior fellow of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, and a fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences. His previous assignments include tours as the Norwegian defense attaché to the United Kingdom and Ireland; director of security analyses in the Norwegian Ministry of Defence; deputy commander and chief of the NATO Advisory Team at NATO HQ, Sarajevo; and dean of the Norwegian Defence University College.


Olsen is a graduate of the German Command and Staff College and has served both as liaison officer to the German Operational Command in Potsdam and as military assistant to the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin. He has a doctorate in history and international relations from De Montfort University, a master’s degree in contemporary literature from the University of Warwick and a master’s degree in English from the University of Trondheim. He received his professor credentials in 2007 and was a visiting professor at the Swedish National Defence University from 2008 to 2019.


Professor Olsen has lectured in more than fifty countries worldwide, received several awards and published a series of books, including Strategic Air Power in Desert Storm (Frank Cass, 2003); On New Wars (Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, 2006); John Warden and the Renaissance of American Air Power (Potomac Books, 2007); A History of Air Warfare (Potomac Books, 2010); Global Air Power (Potomac Books, 2011); The Evolution of Operational Art: From Napoleon to the Present (with Martin van Creveld, Oxford University Press, 2011); Air Commanders (Potomac Books, 2012); The Practice of Strategy: From Alexander the Great to the Present (with Colin S. Gray, Oxford University Press, 2012); Destination NATO: Defence Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2003–13 (with Rohan Maxwell, RUSI Whitehall Paper, 2013); European Air Power: Challenges and Opportunities (Potomac Books, 2014); Airpower Reborn: The Strategic Concepts of John Warden and John Boyd (Naval Institute Press, 2015); NATO and the North Atlantic: Revitalising Collective Defence (RUSI Whitehall Paper, 2017); Airpower Applied: US, NATO and Israeli Combat Experience (Naval Institute Press, 2017); The Routledge Handbook of Air Power (Routledge, 2018); Security in Northern Europe: Deterrence, Defence and Dialogue (RUSI Whitehall Paper, 2018); and Future NATO: Adapting to New Realities (RUSI Whitehall Paper, 2020). His books on airpower appear on the professional reading lists of the Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Netherlands Air Force, Royal Norwegian Air Force, and the U.S. Air Force.