Strategic studies expert Fiona Cunningham has joined the Foreign Policy and Defence Program at the United States Studies Centre (USSC) as a Non-Resident Fellow.

Dr Cunningham is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University and a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 2020-21. Her research examines the relationship between technology and military strategy, with a focus on China.

She will contribute to the Program’s ongoing work on deterrence in the Indo-Pacific and is authoring an USSC policy brief on the implications of US-China nuclear competition for Australia.

Ashley Townshend, Director of Foreign Policy and Defence, notes that at a time when strategic competition between the US and China is rapidly intensifying, Dr Cunningham’s expertise on Chinese security policy and military strategy will be a valuable addition to the United States Studies Centre.

“As we analyse destabilising trends in the US-China relationship and work to develop actionable policy recommendations to assist Australia in navigating a more contested Indo-Pacific, Fiona’s insights and research will be an asset. Australia is getting back into the deterrence business and, as such, understanding China’s approach to strategic and military affairs has never been more important to Canberra and Washington.”

Dr Fiona Cunningham

Dr Cunningham’s research on Chinese nuclear strategy has been widely published in policy and scholarly outlets. She is a Mandarin-speaker and is working on a book-length project that examines China’s approach to nuclear, cyber, space and conventional deterrence based on extensive fieldwork in-country.

To book a briefing with Fiona Cunningham or other USSC experts, please email:

Media enquiries

Taylor Mellor
T 02 9114 2622