Dr. Robert E. Burnett – DOD

Professor, National Security Strategy

Dr. Robert E. Burnett is Professor of National Security Strategy and Policy in the National War College at National Defense University for the U.S. Department of Defense. He is an analyst and theoretician in the field of emerging technologies who has been a featured speaker and researcher to the National Intelligence Council’s RDAWG science and technology committee. In 2024, Dr. Burnett has been invited by Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia to work with them and the Australian War College to help develop an international professional military education program in cooperation with the U.S. National Defense University under the AUKUS framework. In 2018, Dr. Burnett was the plenary speaker on Artificial Intelligence to the NATO Center for Excellence at CYCON X in Tallinn, Estonia and in 2015, Dr. Burnett was invited by the Australian Department of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) to give the Keynote Lecture on Humans and Autonomous Systems to the Emerging Disruptive Technologies Assessment Symposium at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

His recent publications include a chapter on technology and terrorism in a Cambridge University book (expected in 2024), a chapter in a University of Georgia book (2022) on Autonomous systems in RPAS, economics and decision-making, and lethality, and  in combat, and a book chapter on UAVs and ubiquitous networks in Command and Control: Tools, Systems, and New Dimensions, Lexington/Rowan Books, 2015, his work on the evolution of human-machine symbiosis for advanced situational awareness in intelligence and combat spaces was featured in the IEEE Technology & Society Magazine and Homeland Security Review. Dr. Burnett has conducted research and analysis for the National Intelligence Council, the Institute for Defense Analyses, the Joint Military Intelligence College, and the Homeland Security and National Defense Education Consortium. He has also been an active defense community expert in the UAV policy community through the IEEE society in the United States and Australia. Dr. Burnett has previously been professor at Virginia Military Institute (2005-2013), where he was also Director of the Science and National Security Program in Washington, DC. He was also Director of the VMI-National Defense University of Hungary International Exchange Seminar in Budapest, in which he has taught for the last seven summers. In 2003, at VMI, he held the Moody-Northen Endowed Chair in Economics and was also the 2007 & 2009 winner of the Hinman Award for Excellence in Research. From 2000 to 2005, Dr. Burnett was Associate Professor of Integrated Science & Technology at James Madison University, where he was awarded the Most Captivating Lecturer Award in 2005. From 1993 to 2000 he was Assistant Director and Assistant Professor of the Patterson School of Diplomacy & International Commerce.


  • Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia: Political Science: Outside Field: Philosophy, 1993
  • M.A., Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University: International Affairs - International Science & Technology Policy, 1986
  • B.A., University of Missouri-Columbia: Political Science, 1982
  • Japanese Studies at Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan, 1981

Research Interests

  • Emerging and Disruptive Technologies and National Security Policy
  • International Security and Science and Technology Policy
  • Science and Technology Policy
  • National Security and Ethics