I have written three books and numerous articles and chapters on grand strategy, civil-military relations, democracy and war, political theory and international relations, and most recently on bridging the gap between the ivory tower and the policy world.

This last interest takes me back to the beginning of my career in world affairs when I spent a brief time in Washington, DC working on the staff of a U.S. Senator, in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State Department, and in the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division of the Congressional Research Service.  I try to keep one foot inside the policy world through both regular consulting and also various other public intellectual activities.

I am married to the former Mary Jo Pittner and we have three children: Sophie, Zoe, and August.  When I am not trying to improve my tennis game, I am training our Golden Doodle Finn McCool.  My limited success to date with both these avocations has convinced me not to quit my day job.  

About Me

MCDesch.com

I am a professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame focusing on international relations, American foreign policy, and U.S. National Security policy.  I am also the founding Director of the Notre Dame International Security Center, a research and programming center in the College of Arts and Letters dedicated to bridging the gap between the scholarly study of the use of military force and broader policy debates.

Prior to coming to Notre Dame, I taught at Texas A&M University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of California at Riverside.  I was the founding Director of the Scowcroft Institute for Strategic Studies at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at A&M and before that Director the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and Assistant Director and Senior Research Associate at Harvard University’s John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, and Preceptor for the University of Chicago’s Committee on International Relations.  I earned post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs and USC’s Center for International Affairs.