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Jesse Kirkpatrick PhD

Acting Director, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy

Research Associate Professor, George Mason University

Fellow, New America



Jesse Kirkpatrick is a Research Associate Professor and the Acting Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University. Jesse is also an International Security Fellow at New America and serves as a consultant for numerous organizations. These include Noblis Inc., a non-profit science, technology, and strategy organization that delivers technical and advisory solutions to federal government clients, where he is a member of the Responsible Artificial Intelligence Committee; AI Review Board; and Biosafety and Bioethics Committee. He has received various honors and awards and is an official “Mad Scientist” for the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. Jesse's research focuses on the ethics of peace and security, with an emphasis on the ethical, social, and policy implications of emerging technologies. His research is interdisciplinary, cutting across such fields as Philosophy, Political Science, Public Policy, and the Life and Computer Sciences. At its core, it aims to explore two central, interrelated themes: (1) how a suite of technologies, singularly and in convergence, impact peace and security, and (2) what the ethical, social, and policy implications of these impacts may be. Representative areas of technology that Jesse's research has addressed include, AI and autonomy, biotechnology, and tele-operated systems.

Jesse received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, and prior to joining the Institute Jesse was an Assistant Professor at Radford University and a Research Fellow at the US Naval Academy. His work has appeared in numerous journals including, Ethics; Journal of Military Ethics; Journal of Human Rights. Jesse's work has also appeared in Special Warfare Magazine, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and Slate. His current book, Drones, Robots, and Super Soldiers: Emerging Technologies and Military Virtue, is under contract by Harvard University Press. 

Jesse's recent projects include leading a study on the risks, benefits, and governance options of new genome editing technologies. The project was a collaboration with Dr. Gregory Koblentz, director of GMU's biodefense graduate program, and researchers from Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation. The study was supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation. 


In partnership with Dr. Edward Barrett of the US Naval Academy, Jesse co-directs the Coming Home project, which engages veterans in dialogues on the moral, psychological, and spiritual impacts of war. The National Endowment for the Humanities has supported Coming Home for three consecutive years. 


Kirkpatrick, J. Drones, Robots, and Super Soldiers: Emerging Technologies and Military Virtue (under contract, Harvard University Press)


Kirkpatrick, J. Pinczuk,Guillermo, Mike Deane, and Jesse Kirkpatrick. Case Studies in Insurgency and Revolutionary Warfare—Sri Lanka (1976-2009), The United States Army Special Operations Command and the Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory, (2015).

Kirkpatrick, J. “Super Soldiers and Virtue” in Developing the super soldier: enhancing military performance, G. Braun III W., von Hlatky, Stéfanie., and Richard Nossal, Kim. (eds.) The Kingston Conference on International Security series, 2018.

Kirkpatrick, J. “A Global Human Rights Court?” in Gordon DiGiacomo & Susan Kang (eds.) The Institutions of Human Rights: Development and Practices. University of Toronto Press. (forthcoming)

Kirkpatrick, J. and Ryan Jenkins. “What the Fatal Uber Crash Doesn’t Tell Us About Self-Driving Cars,” Slate Magazine, March 2018.

Kirkpatrick, J. and Sarah Welch Denton. “The Future of War and Terrorism” in Michael Bess and Diana Walsh Pasulka (eds.) Posthumanism: The Future of Homo Sapiens. Macmillan Reference USA (2018).

Kirkpatrick, J., Hanh, Erin and Amy Haufler. “Trust in Human-Robot Interactions,” in Patrick Lin, George Bekey, Keith Abney, and Ryan Jenkins (eds.) Robot Ethics 2.0. Oxford University Press. 2017.

Kirkpatrick, J. and Andrew Light. “Gene editing’s great potential, and great risks,” Washington Post. Sunday Opinion, December 13, 2015.


Kirkpatrick, J.“Syrian Civil War Heightens Polio Risk,” op-ed, Baltimore Sun, December 9, 2013.

Kirkpatrick, J. “Drones and the Martial Virtue Courage,” Journal of Military Ethics, 14(3).

Kirkpatrick, J.“Kirkpatrick’s Reply to Sparrow,” Journal of Military Ethics, 14(3).

Kirkpatrick, J.“A Retrospective Essay: John MacCunn’s ‘Cosmopolitan Duties,’” Ethics, 125(1).

Kirkpatrick, J.“A Modest Proposal: A Global Court for Human Rights,” Journal of Human Rights, 13(2).


Kirkpatrick, J. “Drones and State Responsibility,” in Di Nucci, Ezio and Filippo Santoni de Sio (eds.) Drones and Responsibility: Legal, Philosophical and Socio-Technical Perspectives on the Use of Remotely Controlled Weapons. Ashgate Publishing (2016).

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