Katarzyna Zysk

Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies

Katarzyna Zysk is Professor of International Relations and Contemporary History at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS, since 2007), which is part of the Norwegian Defence University College (NDUC) in Oslo.  

At the IFS, she served also as Deputy Director (2017–21), as well as Head of Centre for Security Policy and Director of Research. In 2016, she was Acting Dean of the Norwegian Defence University College, where she teaches regularly.  

She was Visiting Professor the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at the Stanford University; at the Changing Character of War Centre (CCW) at the University of Oxford; The Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po); member of the Hoover Institution’s Arctic Security Initiative; as well as Research Fellow at the Center for Naval Warfare Studies (Strategic Research Department) at the US Naval War College, where she also  cooperated closely with the War Gaming Department. 

Currently, she serves as Core Group Member of the Russia Transatlantic Forum at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS); member of the International Military Council on Climate Change; and Advisory Board Member of the Transatlantic Deterrence Dialogue Initiative. 

Prof. Zysk has an academic background in international relations and international history. Following her 2006 PhD thesis on NATO enlargement, her research has focused on security, defence, and strategic studies, with a special focus on Russia’s military strategy and warfare, security and defence policy, the Russian Navy, nuclear deterrence, maritime security and geopolitics in the Arctic, as well as defence innovation and breakthrough technologies. 

Her published research has appeared in SAIS Review of International Affairs, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Asia Policy, Journal of Strategic Studies, RUSI Journal, Politique Étrangere, Jane’s Navy International, War on the Rocks, and others, including in books published by Cambridge and Oxford University Presses. Recently, she has co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Strategic Studies on “Defence Innovation and the 4th Industrial Revolution. Security Challenges, Emerging Technologies, and National Responses”, where she has also contributed a case study on Russia. 

Selected publications

High Hopes Amid Hard Realities. Defense AI in Russia, Defense AI Observatory, DAIO Study 23/11 (2023) 

Defence Innovation and the 4th Industrial Revolution in Russia (also co-editor of the special issue), Journal of Strategic Studies (2021), published by Routledge as a book in 2022 

Does Russia Represent a Threat in Emerging and Disruptive Technologies? NATO Defence College Policy Brief (2022) 

Russia’s Military Build-Up in the Arctic: To What End?, Center for Naval Analyses (2020) 

Escalation and Nuclear Weapons in Russia's Military Strategy,RUSI Journal (2018) 

Prof. Zysk is a frequent commentator in the media, including interviews in the New York Times, BBC World Service, Euronews, CNN, Foreign Affairs, NPR, Newsweek International, Die Zeit, Le Monde, France Culture, Le Figaro, Liberation, Vice News, ABC News, Politico, WNYC Radio, The Voice of America, Scandinavian media, and others, including in documentary movies. 

Language competence: English, Norwegian, Polish, French, and Russian. 


    • Russia, security and defence 
    • contemporary military thought
    • the Russian Navy
    • Arctic geopolitics
    • maritime security
    • NATO and transatlantic relations
    • Northern Europe, security and defence
    • international security
    • military strategy