Ohio State Navbar

Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Mershon Center for International Security Studies

#Mershon memos

Sign up for our mailing list

meet our faculty page.

Apply for a research grant

Mershon News

Peter Mansoor

The U.S. military has had a checkered record of success in wars waged since 1945. Part of the explanation behind the failures (Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan) lies in the failure of military organizations to adapt to the type of wars in which they found themselves engaged.

Cultural predilection towards major combat operations has shaped the mindset of the officer corps and stifled creativity, resulting in failed approaches to conflicts that refused to conform to established norms. The armed forces of other nations have experienced similar issues, sometimes resulting in catastrophic or near-catastrophic defeats (e.g., Soviet Union in Afghanistan from 1979-1988).

Organized by Peter R. Mansoor, Gen. Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair of Military History, the Culture of Military Organizations conference will explore the impact of the culture on the development of effective military organizations and therefore its impact on security from 1861 to the present. It will take place Friday, September 29, through Saturday, September 30, at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 1501 Neil Ave.

Read more ...

Olga Kamenchuk Erik Nisbet

Study suggests Putin has developed a ‘psychological firewall’

The Russian government has persuaded many of its citizens to avoid websites and social media platforms that are critical of the government, a new study has found.

Researchers analyzing a survey of Russian citizens found that those who relied more on Russian national television news perceived the internet as a greater threat to their country than did others. This in turn led to increased support for online political censorship.

Approval of the government of President Vladimir Putin amplified the impact of those threat perceptions on support for censorship, according to the study.

The success of the Russian regime in persuading citizens to self-censor their internet use has troubling implications, said Erik Nisbet, co-author of the study an associate professor of communication at The Ohio State University.

“This is actually more insidious. The government doesn’t have to rely as much on legal or technical firewalls against content they don’t like. They have created a psychological firewall in which people censor themselves,” Nisbet said.

“People report they don’t go to certain websites because the government says it is bad for me.”

Nisbet conducted the study with Olga Kamenchuk, a visiting assistant professor, and doctoral student Aysenur Dal, both from Ohio State. Their results appear in the September 2017 issue of the journal Social Science Quarterly.

Read more ...

Peter Hahn

Peter Mansoor

The 2018 WWII Tour will run June 23 to July 1, traveling to London, Normandy and Amsterdam, following in the footsteps of the men and women who fought for democracy and were called “The Greatest Generation.” The tour will be led by Ohio State’s experts in diplomatic and military history — Mershon affiliates Peter Mansoor, Gen. Raymond E. Mason Chair in Military History, and Peter Hahn, chair of the Department of History, along with David Steigerwald. For full details, itinerary and registration information, visit the Alumni Tours page.

The College of Arts and Sciences seeks a director for the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, the intellectual center on campus for the study of national and international security in a global context.

The center director must hold a Ph.D. or equivalent degree and have a record of successful publication and teaching that justifies appointment at the rank of full professor. Experiences in governmental, inter-governmental, and/or non-governmental institutions and agencies dealing with security issues are desirable, as is significant experience of international engagement and collaboration generally.  Applicants should have a track record of academic leadership including grant seeking and institution building.

All interested applicants should submit a curriculum vita and a vision statement outlining their view of security studies and the direction they would like to take the center, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. by Tuesday, September 5, 2017. Read the full job description

Anthony Mughan Richard Gunther Paul Beck Erik Nisbet

Four Mershon Center faculty affiliates have received a $54,000 grant from the Directorate of Political Science in the National Science Foundation to conduct a post-election survey of the British electorate as part of a study comparing 2016 and 2017 elections in Britain, France, Germany, the United States and earlier studies of four countries in Southern Europe.

Principal investigators on the project, entitled “A Changing Electoral Politics in Western Democracies: Comparing the 2017 British Election to France, Germany, the United States, and Southern Europe within the Comparative National Election Study,” include Erik Nisbet, associate professor of communication; Paul Beck, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Social and Behavioral Sciences; Richard Gunther, professor emeritus of political science, and Anthony Mughan, professor of political science and director of the International Studies Program.

Drawing from the same questionnaire used for 49 post-election surveys in 27 countries over the past three decades, the study will allow researchers to do a systematic comparative analysis of voting behavior across eight western democracies, at least three of which have undergone substantial party-system realignment in recent years.

The survey includes voters in the:

  • June 2017 general election in Britain
  • November 2016 presidential election in the United States
  • May 2017 second-round presidential election in France
  • September 2017 federal legislative election in Germany.

Results of this research will help explain fundamental challenges in recent years to established patterns of voting behavior and party structures in Western democracies by focusing on such factors as responses to economic stress, changing patterns in distribution of political information, demand for and satisfaction with democracy, and political polarization.

Read more ...

Featured News

  • Jesse Driscoll

    Driscoll wins Furniss Award for 'Warlords and Coalition Politics'

    The breakup of the Soviet Union was unexpected and unexpectedly peaceful. Although a third of the new states fell into violent conflict, anarchy was soon brought under control. What e ...

    Read more ...

     
  • Keren Yarhi-Milo

    Yarhi-Milo’s ‘Knowing the Adversary’ wins Furniss Book Award

    States are more likely to engage in military buildups and pre-emptive strikes if they think their adversaries pose a tangible threat. But how do they make that determination?

    Keren ...

    Read more ...