Michael C. Desch is the Packey J. Dee Professor of International Relations at the University of Notre Dame and the founding director of the Notre Dame International Security Center. He specializes in international relations, American foreign policy, international security, political thought, and world politics.   

Desch previously served two terms as chair of Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science, and was the founding director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs and the first holder of the Robert M. Gates Chair in Intelligence and National Security Decision-Making at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. He also served as assistant director and senior research associate at Harvard University's Olin Institute for Strategic Studies.

Desch has written a number of articles and books, including Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Science on National Security (Princeton University Press, 2018).

He previously worked for the federal government at the US Department of State, the Congressional Research Service, and as a staffer for a US senator. 

Desch received an MA in international relations and a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago.


ISP Advisee:
Cullen Geahigan

Thematic Interests

International relations; American foreign policy; international security

Current Research

Two projects, one on the growing estrangement between academic social science and national security policymaking, and one that takes stock of what we know—and need to know—about the role of religion in international relations.