Senior Fellow, International Security
James de Waal

Contact information

+44 (0)20 7314 3628


James de Waal is a senior consulting fellow in the International Security Department. He served in the British diplomatic service from 1990 to 2014, including postings at the United Nations in New York, in Berlin, Washington and Santiago.

In London he worked in several different departments of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including (twice) in the Policy Planning Staff.

From 2009-11 he worked in the Ministry of Defence, including on the 2009 Defence Green Paper and the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

At Chatham House he has focused on the politics of UK and Western defence policy, notably the relationship between senior political and military leaders, as well as on general trends in international conflict.

His Chatham House paper Depending on the Right People: British Political-Military Relations, 2001–10 was published in November 2013.

Areas of expertise

  • Defence policy of the UK and major Western nations and international organisations (NATO, EU etc)
  • International trends in armed conflict (including causes, military aspects, implications)
  • Government decision-making on military interventions, and the role of strategy
  • The relationship between senior political and military leaders
  • Defence and security reviews

Past experience

1990-2014 Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including diplomatic postings at the United Nations, in Berlin, Washington and Santiago, and secondment to the Ministry of Defence during the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review