Dr Reuben Steff

Senior Lecturer

Qualifications: MInSt, (Otago), PhD (Otago)

School of Social Sciences


About Reuben

Dr Steff has a PhD in Security Studies and a Masters in International Studies (MInSt) from the University of Otago, Dunedin. After receiving his PhD, he spent two and a half years working for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Trade, firstly in the International Security and Disarmament Division, where he worked on counter terrorism and transnational crime issues, and then in the Strategic Policy Division, where he was responsible for developing strategic policy and providing support to NZ Inc agencies.

At the University of Waikato he will teach courses on New Zealand Foreign Policy, International Relations and International Security.

He is the author of Strategic Thinking, Deterrence and the US Ballistic Missile Defense Project: from Truman to Obama (Routledge, 2014) and Security at a Price: The International Politics of US Ballistic Missile Defense (Rowman & Littlefield, November 2017)

His research on nuclear deterrence, missile defence and the security dilemma examines the nature of contemporary great power competition within a unipolar system. He is currently conducting research into New Zealand's place in the 'NZ-China-US triangle', the contemporary dynamics of nuclear deterrence and the implications of artificial intelligence for international security.


Globalisation; International Relations; New Zealand Politics; Politics; Security; Technology

Artificial Intelligence

Research Interests

I am interested in research collaborations and supervision in the following areas:

Deterrence Theory and Missile Defense; Arms Controls/Arms Races and the Security Dilemma; US Foreign Policy; Russian and Chinese Foreign Policy; New Zealand Foreign Policy and Security; Great Power Competition; Science, Technology and International Security (including Missile Defence, Hypersonic Missiles, Railguns, Artificial Intelligence and Drone Warfare); Asia-Pacific Security; International Terrorism.

Featured Publications

Dr Reuben Steff & Francesca Dodd-Parr. (2019) 'Examining the Immanent Dilemma of Small States in the Asia-Pacific: The Strategic Triangle between New Zealand, the US and China', Pacific Review, 32: 1, pp. 90-112

Dr Reuben Steff. (2019) 'Looking to the Future: Expanding New Zealand's Foreign Relations Beyond Traditional Partners', in (ed.) Prof. Anne-Marie Brady, Small States and the Changing Global Order (Springer) (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-18803-0)

Dr Reuben Steff and Dr Joe Burton. (2019) Input paper on Defence, Security and Emergency Response in 'The Effective and Ethical Development of Artificial Intelligence: An Opportunity to Improve our Wellbeing'. Australian Learned Council of Academics. Available at:

Dr Reuben Steff & Dr Nicholas Khoo, Security at a Price: The International Politics of US Ballistic Missile Defense (Rowman & Littlefield, November 2017)

Reuben Steff & Nicholas Khoo. (2014) 'Hard Balancing in the Age of American Unipolarity: The Russian Response to US Ballistic Missile Defense during the Bush Administration' (2001–2008), Journal of Strategic Studies, 37:2

Reuben Steff & Nicholas Khoo. (2014) '"This program will not be a threat to them": Ballistic Missile Defense and US relations with Russia and China', Defense & Security Analysis, 30:1

Reuben Steff. (2013) Strategic Thinking, Deterrence and the US Ballistic Missile Defense Project: from Truman to Obama (Routledge)

Reuben Steff. (2013) 'Cooperative Ballistic Missile Defence for America, China, and Russia', Contemporary Security Policy, 34:1

Forthcoming Publications

Chapter: 'Nuclear Deterrence in a New Age of Disruptive Technology and Great Power Competition', in (ed.) Dr Anastasia Filippidou, Deterrence - Concepts and Approaches for Current and Emerging Threats (Springer, 2019) (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-29367-3)

Emerging Technologies and International Security: Machines, the State and War, eds. Reuben Steff, Simone Soare and Joe Bortun (Routledge, 2020)

Recent Publications

View all research publications by Reuben Steff

Papers Taught

Associations and Memberships

Advisory Board - Weapons of Mass Destruction Book Series (Rowman & Littlefield)

Member - University of Waikato Institute for Security and Crime Science

Research Associate - Small States and the New Security Environment

Member - NZ Political Studies Association

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Steff, Dr Reuben 9325 rsteff J.2.14 Political Science & Public Policy