Jaganath Sankaran

Jaganath Sankaran

Jaganath Sankaran is a nonresident fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution and an assistant professor in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). He works on problems at the intersection of international security and science & technology. He spent the first four years of his career as a defense scientist with the Indian Missile R&D establishment. Sankaran’s work in weapons design and development led to his interests in nuclear war planning, missile defenses, space weapons, military net assessment, and arms control.

A current focus of his research is China’s growing military and nuclear weapons capabilities and the counter-military balancing undertaken by the United States, Japan, India, and other states. In particular, Sankaran studies the impact of emerging technological advances on weapons systems deployed by these states. He has also written about the U.S.-Russian disagreements over missile defenses and nuclear arms control.

He has published in International Security, Contemporary Security Policy, Journal of East Asian Studies, Asian Security, Strategic Studies Quarterly, Arms Control Today, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and other outlets. His research has also been published by the RAND Corporation and the Stimson Center.

Sankaran’s ongoing book project examines the coercive influence of ballistic missiles in warfare. He is researching the impact of ballistic missiles on the operations, war plans, and the course of the war. His book examines four critical case studies — World War II, the Iran-Iraq War, the 1991 Gulf War, and the Houthis-Saudi Arabian conflict in Yemen — to understand the coercive capacities of missiles.

Sankaran has held fellowships at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University, and the RAND Corporation. Before joining UT Austin, he was an assistant research professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. He has served on study groups at the National Academies of Sciences and the American Physical Society, examining missile defenses and strategic stability.

Sankaran earned a doctorate in public policy and a Master of Engineering and Public Policy from the University of Maryland.

Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland, University of Maryland, College Park, affiliate
Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law, The University of Texas at Austin, distinguished scholar
South Asia Institute, The University of Texas at Austin, faculty affiliate

  • Areas of Expertise

    • Anti-satellite weapons
    • Ballistic missile defense
    • Miliary net assessment
    • New defense technologies
    • Nuclear war
    • Strategic stability
  • Current Positions

    • Assistant Professor, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Past Positions

    • Assistant Research Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
    • Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Los Alamos National Laboratories
    • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
    • Stanton Nuclear Security Post-Doctoral Fellow, RAND Corporation
    • Scientist, Defense R&D Organization, Government of India
  • Education

    • Ph. D., University of Maryland, College Park, 2012
    • Master of Engineering and Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park, 2008
    • Bachelor of Technology, National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, India, 2003
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