Joshua Tallis, Ph.D.
Research Scientist


Dr. Joshua Tallis is a research scientist with expertise in ocean security, polar affairs, and the role of naval operations in U.S. foreign policy. He is interested in the strategic challenges of building security in shared spaces and the strategic implications of maritime operations. Tallis' work at CNA includes analyses on maritime security, carrier strike group operations, Arctic operations and great power dynamics.

Tallis' work on strategy and policy is enhanced by operational field research. For example, in 2018 he was embedded with Carrier Strike Group Eight as the command's CNA analyst during the Navy's first Arctic carrier deployment since 1991. Administratively, he is a project director who specializes in managing cross-disciplinary teams and building research designs to answer complex, unstructured questions. Before joining CNA, Tallis was the manager for research at a boutique security consulting firm in Northern Virginia.

Tallis is the author of the 2019 book, "The War for Muddy Waters: Pirates, Terrorists, Traffickers, and Maritime Insecurity." Tallis holds a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of St Andrews and a B.A. in Middle East studies from the George Washington University.


December 18, 2020

Joshua Tallis says, "'Mariners need to access ports of call' for their physical and mental well-being."

USNI News: "COVID-19 Pandemic Shows Mariners Are Essential Workers, Experts Say"

August 30, 2020

Joshua Tallis says, ""Something that can often be missed unless you're doing a close read of the NDS summary is that DOD is still interested in the little things. They're interested in smaller power competitors, countries like Iran and North Korea, as well as smaller non-state issues like terrorism and piracy."

CIMSEC: "Sea Control 197 – Naval Great Power Competition with Dr. Joshua Tallis and Hunter Stires" [8:38-9:07]

August 12, 2020

Joshua Tallis writes, "Great power competition is not only about preparing for conflict, but also includes sustained, day-to-day competition regarding who most shapes the structure of the international order."

CIMSEC: "How Good Order at Sea Is Central to Winning Strategic Competition"

July 28, 2020

Joshua Tallis writes, "The alliance's prominence in a specific part of the Arctic long associated with NATO operations should not provoke serious escalation with Russia and is already a point of familiarity for Sweden and Finland."

Defense News: "NATO Is the Right Forum for Security Dialogue in the High North"

June 18, 2020

Joshua Tallis says, "If GPC [Great Power Competition] is a contest for friends, there isn't one theory of victory but two theories of victory that the Navy has to consider. One is positional, and the other is political. 

USNI News: "Lack of Future Fleet Plans, Public Strategy Hurting Navy's Bottom Line in Upcoming Defense Bills"

June 1, 2020

Joshua Tallis writes, "Some of the world's most complex security challenges—including many with Navy equities—are marked less by specific geographies than by their nature as global commons."

Proceedings: "Lessons for Space From the Oceans and Poles"