Benjamin P. Nickels, Ph.D.

A photograph of professor Nickels speaking at a George C. Marshall Center brownbag event.
Portrait image
A portrait photo of Benjamin Nickels.

Benjamin P. Nickels, Ph.D.

International Security Studies

Ben Nickels is professor of international security studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, where he also serves as course director of the Europe-Africa Security Seminar.

Prior to joining the Marshall Center in 2018, Dr. Nickels was academic chair for transnational threats and counterterrorism at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (2011-2018), where he worked with security professionals on the ground in 24 African countries. He previously served as faculty researcher at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) (2009-2011), and as an analyst and team supervisor for a defense contractor in the US Army (2007-2009).

Dr. Nickels’ research focuses on political violence, displaced populations and migration, counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, and security cooperation in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Fluent in French and familiar with Arabic, Dr. Nickels has given hundreds of talks in French and English at government meetings, international forums, and leading academic institutions, such as Georgetown and Harvard. He serves on the editorial board of the Marine Corps University Journal and has received numerous awards, including a Fulbright scholarship to Morocco and a Chateaubriand fellowship in France. He holds a doctorate with distinction in history from the University of Chicago.

Follow Ben Nickels on Twitter at @BPNickels.


Europe and West Africa: Transnational Challenges and Capacity Building,” Marshall Center Security Insights, no. 66 (April 2021).

COVID-19 and Irregular Migration in the Mediterranean,” (with Margo Shields) Marshall Center Perspectives no. 1 (June 2020).

A Fragile State of Health: COVID-19 in Africa, Marshall Center Security Insights, no. 56 (April 2020).

Algeria Has a Legitimacy Problem,” LSE Middle East Centre Blog (May 20, 2019).

On the Periphery: Containing the Spread of Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Africa,”(co-edited with Francois Vreÿ, Jennifer Fendrick, and Stellenbosch) African Sun Media (2019).

What Money Means for Terrorism in Africa,” (with Samuel E. Cleaves and Woodrow Wilson) Africa Policy Briefs (2018).

Foreign Technology or Local Expertise? Al-Shabaab’s IED Capability,” (with Daisy Muibu) CTC Sentinel 10, no. 10 (2017).

Africa’s Pastoralists: A New Battleground for Terrorism,” (with Kaley Fulton) ACSS Spotlight (2017).

Chad: A Precarious Counterterrorism Partner,” (with Margot Shorey) CTC Sentinel 8, no. 4 (2015).

Algeria’s Role in African Security,” Sada: Middle East Analysis (April 3, 2014).

Pitfalls for Libya’s General Purpose Force,” Sada: Middle East Analysis (October 10, 2013).

Mali’s Regional Ramifications,” Sada: Middle East Analysis (June 6, 2013).

Analysing the Crisis in the Sahel,” GCSP Policy Paper (March 25, 2013).

Morocco’s Engagement with the Sahel Community,” Sada: Middle East Analysis (January 3, 2013).

France and Algeria at War: Nation, Identity, and Memory,” History: Reviews of New Books 38, no. 4 (2010):119-124.  

gcmcpublicaffairs [at]