Dr Reuben Steff

Reuben Steff

Senior Lecturer

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

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.

Papers Taught

Research Supervised

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

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.

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). 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., & Burton, J. (2019). The effective and ethical development of artificial intelligence: An opportunity to improve our wellbeing [Input paper on Defence, Security and Emergency Response]. Australian Council of Learned Academies. Retrieved from

  • Steff, R. (2019). Looking to the future: Expanding New Zealand's foreign relations beyond traditional partners. In A. -M. Brady (Ed.), Small States and the Changing Global Order New Zealand Faces the Future (1st ed., pp. 231-249). Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-18803-0

Find more research publications by Reuben Steff


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

Artificial Intelligence

Contact Details

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

You can contact staff by:
  • Calling +64 7 838 4466  select option 1, then enter the extension
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5, 9 or 3 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension
    • For extensions starting with 3: dial +64 7 2620 + the last 3 digits of the extension  e.g. 3123 = +64 7 262 0123
  • Emailing
  • Using the campus map to locate their room