Katarzyna Zysk

Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies

Katarzyna Zysk, Professor of International Relations and Contemporary History at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS, since 2007), which is a part of the Norwegian Defence University College (NDUC) in Oslo. At the IFS, she also served as Deputy Director, Head of Centre for Security Policy, and Director of Research. In 2016, she was also Acting Dean of the NDUC, where she teaches regularly.  

Currently, she also serves as Nonresident Senior Fellow (US Atlantic Council); Core Group Member (Transatlantic Forum on Russia, CNAS); member of the International Military Council on Climate and Security; and Advisory Board Member of the Transatlantic Deterrence Dialogue Initiative (TDDI).  

Prof. Zysk has a background shaped by diverse cultural, political and academic landscapes, with an experience of growing up behind the Iron Curtain, and subsequent extended research stays in various countries. She visiting scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University, at The Changing Character of War Centre (CCW) at The University of Oxford, at The Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), member of the Hoover Institution’s Arctic Security Initiative; and visiting research fellow at Center for Naval Warfare Studies at The US Naval War College (USNWC), where she also worked with the War Gaming Department. 

Following her 2006 PhD on NATO enlargement, her research has focused on security, defence, and strategic studies, including Russia's military doctrine, strategy, armed forces; nuclear strategy; naval strategy, the Russian Navy; security & geopolitics in the Arctic; defence innovation and new and emerging technologies, such artificial intelligence. 

Her published research has appeared in SAIS Review of International Affairs, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Journal of Strategic Studies, Asia Policy, RUSI Journal, Politique Etrangère, Jane’s Navy International, International Relations, War on the Rocks, and other outlets, 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 

Struggling, Not Crumbling: Russian Defence AI in a Time of War, Russia Military Report, RUSI Commentary (2023) 

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   

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 international media, including in the New York Times, BBC World Service, Euronews, CNN, NPR, Le Monde, Deutsche Welle, El Pais, Sydney Morning Herald, Die Zeit, Bloomberg, France Culture, Le Figaro, France 24, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Politico, Newsweek, Vice News, Defense One, Slate, Radio Canada Intl, El Commercio, Expresso, and in others, including documentary movies (most recently Discovery Channel, Nordic production).  

She is fluent in English, French, Norwegian, Polish, 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