Sara Usher DPhil

Senior Analyst, Tower Strategy Group

Non-Resident Postdoctoral Fellow, George Mason University


Sara Usher is a Non-Resident Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University where she explores the ethical, social and legal implications of emerging technologies in peace and security. Dr. Usher’s research emerged from a combination of her past research interests, doctoral studies, and policy experience in conflict and security. She has published research on dynamics leading up to civil war, broader topics on human security, policy issues related to military retention and recruitment, and outer space security. 


With a background in anthropology, biology, international relations, political science and psychology, Dr. Usher has collaborated with biologists and ecologists from Princeton University, ecologists from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, mathematicians and biologists at the University of Tennessee’s National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, and with population biologists from Oxford’s Zoology Department.


Dr. Usher received her PhD from the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford for her dissertation, Complex Illusions of Peace: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Conflict Reversion and the Case of Afghanistan, 1979-2014. Her doctorate thesis examines the complementary link between ecological and social systems to the study of intrastate conflict dynamics. Her future work builds and expands on this project through an interdisciplinary examination of conflict and cooperation and the role emerging and disruptive technologies plays in social and political systems and national security.


Dr. Usher also has extensive training in conflict studies and peacebuilding from the Research School on Peace and Conflict, the University of Oslo, Oxford’s Department of International Development and as a researcher for Oxford’s Changing Character of War Programme.


Usher, S., et al. (2018) “American Space Enterprise and Security”. The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.


Usher, S., et al. (2015) “Understanding the Value of the Offer to Individuals.” The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), United Kingdom Ministry of Defence.


Usher, S. (2012) “Iran So Far Away.” Peace and Justice.


Usher, S. (2012) “Human Security Report.” Peace and Justice.


Usher, S. (2012) “Syria is Inching Closer to Civil War.”  Peace and Justice.


Usher, S. (2011) “Syria, and The Case for an Arms Trade Treaty.”  Peace and Justice.

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