Director’s Message

Dr. Alex Wilner

Director, IPIS

Associate Professor of International Affairs, NPSIA


Dr. Wilner is a leading scholar of contemporary deterrence theory and practice. His research – which explores the nexus between deterrence theory and emerging security considerations, domains, and environments – has shaped the fourth, and now fifth, generation of deterrence scholarship. Among his over two dozen journal publications, his articles on the subject of deterring terrorism and cyber deterrence have been published in top-ranked IR journals, including International SecurityJournal of Strategic StudiesSecurity Studies, and Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. His books include Deterrence by Denial: Theory and Practice (eds., Cambria Press, 2021), Deterring Rational Fanatics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), and Deterring Terrorism: Theory and Practice (eds., Stanford University Press, 2012).

Since joining NPSIA in 2015, his broader scholarship has been awarded over $1M (CAD) in external research funding: he was awarded a Government of Canada SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2016-2017), a prestigious SSHRC Insight Grant (2020-2025), and a Government of Ontario Early Researcher Award (2021-2026) to study state and non-state cyber deterrence; a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant (2022-2023) to explore foresight in public service; two major IDEaS grants (2018-2021) and several MINDS grant (2019, 2020) from the Department of National Defence to explore Artificial Intelligence (AI) and deterrence; several smaller research grants from the Canadian Network on Terrorism, Security, and Society (TSAS); and a major Mitacs grant (2020-2022) to explore emerging technology and Canadian defence policy and strategy.

Prof Wilner teaches classes on terrorism and violent radicalization, intelligence in international affairs, strategic foresight in international affairs, and a capstone course on Canadian security policy. Past capstone partners have included FINTRAC, Public Safety Canada, Global Affairs Canada, and Policy Horizons Canada. Besides his academic teaching, since 2017 he has trained over 1000 Canadian public servants in strategic foresight, having provided over 40 multi-day training workshops to several government departments, including (among others) the Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces, Global Affairs Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Department of Justice, and Standards Council of Canada.

Message from Past IPIS Directors

A. O. Abd El Halim and Director Dane Rowlands speak on behalf of the MIPIS program.