Dr Robert Ralston

Dr Robert Ralston

Department of Political Science and International Studies

Contact details

POLSIS - School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Robert Ralston studies international security, grand strategy, and civil-military relations, with a specific focus on the domestic politics of great power politics and the politics of military service.


  • PhD in Political Science, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • MA in Political Science, Virginia Tech
  • BA in Political Science, Winthrop University


Dr Ralston studies international security, grand strategy, and civil-military relations, with a specific focus on the domestic politics of great power politics and the politics of military service.

Robert was previously a Grand Strategy, Security, and Statecraft Fellow jointly appointed at the International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School and the Security Studies Program, MIT and a Predoctoral Fellow in the Albritton Center for Grand Strategy at the Bush School for Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

His work has appeared in, amongst others, Security Studies; International Studies Quarterly; Perspectives on Politics; The Journal of Global Security StudiesPolitics, Groups, and Identities; Armed Forces & Society; Journal of Human Rights Practice; Environmental Communication; and The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics.

Additionally, Robert's work has appeared in popular outlets such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign PolicyThe Washington Post, War on the Rocks, Security in Context, The Conversation, and The Duck of Minerva.


  • Rising Powers and Global Order
  • International Security


Research Interests

  • Grand Strategy
  • Foreign Policy
  • Civil-Military Relations
  • Public Opinion

Other activities

  • Summer Workshop on the Analysis of Military Operations and Strategy, July 2021.


Recent publications


Ralston, R 2023, 'American decline and anti-Asian American sentiment', Politics, Groups, and Identities. https://doi.org/10.1080/21565503.2023.2224767

Ralston, R 2022, 'Make Us Great Again: The Causes of Declinism in Major Powers', Security Studies, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 667-702. https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2022.2133626

Krebs, RR & Ralston, R 2022, 'Patriotism or paychecks: who believes what about why soldiers serve', Armed Forces & Society, vol. 48, no. 1, pp. 25-48. https://doi.org/10.1177/0095327X20917166

Ralston, R & Spindel, J 2022, 'Public Attitudes Toward Diversity, Promotion, and Leadership in the U.S. Military', Armed Forces & Society, pp. 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1177/0095327X221117609

Motta, M, Ralston, R & Spindel, J 2021, 'A call to arms for climate change? How military service member concern about climate change can inform effective climate communication', Environmental Communication, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 85-98. https://doi.org/10.1080/17524032.2020.1799836

Krebs, RR, Ralston, R & Rapport, A 2021, 'No right to be wrong: what Americans think about civil-military relations', Perspectives on Politics. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1537592721000013

Krebs, RR, Ralston, R & Rapport, A 2021, 'Why they fight: how perceived motivations for military service shape support for the use of force', International Studies Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1093/isq/sqab033

Spindel, J & Ralston, R 2020, 'Taking Social Cohesion to Task: Perceptions of Transgender Military Inclusion and Concepts of Cohesion', Journal of Global Security Studies. https://doi.org/10.1093/jogss/ogz045

Ralston, R, Motta, M & Spindel, J 2020, 'When OK is Not OK: Public Concern About White Nationalism in the U.S. Military', Armed Forces & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/0095327X20918394

Manion, M, Ralston, R, Matthews, T & Allen, I 2017, 'Budget analysis as a tool to monitor economic and social rights: Where the rubber of international commitment meets the road of government policy', Journal of Human Rights Practice. https://doi.org/10.1093/jhuman/hux002

View all publications in research portal