Dr Reuben Steff

Senior Lecturer

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

([email protected])

About Reuben

Dr Reuben Steff is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Waikato, where he teaches courses on New Zealand Foreign Policy, International Relations and Global Security. Prior to this, he spent two and a half years working for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Trade in the International Security and Disarmament Division, and the Strategic Policy Division.

His academic research stretches across a number of areas and includes the implications of Artificial Intelligence for the global balance of power and small states, the intersection between nuclear deterrence theory, ballistic missile defence and the security dilemma, New Zealand and US foreign policy, and great power competition. He is the author of Security at a Price: The International Politics of US Ballistic Missile Defense (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) and Strategic Thinking, Deterrence and the US Ballistic Missile Defense Project: from Truman to Obama (Routledge, 2014).

His two forthcoming books are US Foreign Policy in the Age of Trump: Drivers, Strategy and Tactics (Routledge, 2020) and Emerging Technologies and International Security: Machines, the State and War (Routledge 2020). He also has a number of journal articles published in the Journal of Strategic Studies, Pacific Review, Contemporary Security Policy, Defense and Security AnalysisNew Zealand International ReviewNational Security Journal, and the Australian Journal of International Affairs.


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

Research Interests

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

Deterrence Theory and Missile Defense; Arms Controls/Arms Races; 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. (April 2020) 'Why this time is different: The North Korea Crisis and New Zealand’s interests'. National Security Journal, 2: 1, pp. 1-22, open access:

Dr Reuben Steff and Alan Tidwell. (February 2020) 'Understanding and Evaluating Trump’s Foreign Policy: A Three Frame Analysis'. Australian Journal of International Affairs (DOI: 10.1080/10357718.2020.1721431)

Dr Reuben Steff. (2020) 'Nuclear Deterrence in a New Age of Disruptive Technologies and Great Power Competition', in (ed.) Anastasia Filippidou, Deterrence: Concepts and Approaches for Current and Emerging Threats (Springer) (ISBN 978-3-030-29367-3)

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

US Foreign Policy in the Age of Trump: Drivers, Tactics and Strategy (Routledge, June/July 2020).

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

Recent Publications

  • Steff, R., & Tidwell, A. (2020). Understanding and evaluating Trump’s foreign policy: a three frame analysis. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 1-26. doi:10.1080/10357718.2020.1721431

  • Steff, R. (2020). Why this time is different: The North Korea Crisis and New Zealand’s interests.. National Security Journal. doi:10.36878/nsj20200201.01 Open Access version:

  • Steff, R. (2020). Nuclear deterrence in a new age of disruptive technologies and great power competition. In A. Filippidou (Ed.), Deterrence. Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications (pp. 57-75). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-29367-3_4

  • Steff, R. (2019). Looking to the future: Expanding New Zealand foreign relations beyond traditional partnerships. In A. -M. Brady (Ed.), Small States and the Changing Global Order: New Zealand Faces the Future (pp. 231-249). Switzerland: Springer.

View all research publications by Reuben Steff

Papers Taught


Current doctoral researchers include:

  • Aleksi Rantaniemi: The Genie that got out of the Bottle? Assessing the Proliferation of Lethal Autonomous Technologies
  • Akkas Abbasi: China's Evolving Nuclear Strategy and Implications for International Security
  • Ahn Nguyen: Towards the Development of an Effective Regional Mechanism to Combat Maritime Piracy and Armed Robbery in Southeast Asia
  • Estelle Townshend: Religion & Foreign Policy: the Impact of Religion on the Foreign Policies of Qatar & UAE
  • Muhammad Karim: Governance as a Key Driver of Conflict in Pakistan
  • Francis Okpaleke: Automated Weapons and US Grand Strategy

Associations and Memberships

Editorial Board - National Security Journal

Editorial Board - Defense & Security Analysis

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