My research focuses on two distinct areas of inquiry. My primary research examines the relationship between innovation and military effectiveness, with a particular interest in warfighting doctrine. A secondary topic of interest is nationalism, nation-building, and political violence.


Military Innovation and the Illusion of Power (Dissertation Project)

Militaries often need to innovate in order to meet novel threats, to keep up with the changing character of warfare, to avoid defeat in battle, and to effectively bend the enemy to their will. Conventional wisdom, however, holds that militaries are conservative organizations predisposed to resist innovation; and that this aversion leads to poor battlefield performance. Innovation is a bet that a major change will increase military effectiveness given a perceived shortcoming in performance. But innovation is not synonymous with effectiveness; and innovation may not deliver on its promises.

My dissertation interrogates the relationship between innovation and military effectiveness.

Dissertation Committee: Caitlin Talmadge (co-chair), Alex Downes (co-chair), Stephen Biddle, Martha Finnemore


The Geographic Sources of Military Doctrine:
British and American Ways of Carrier Warfare, 1919-1939

In this working paper, I analyze how military organizations use geography to guide the development of new weapon technologies.

Presented at:

  • 2019 Research in Progress Workshop, ISCS

  • 2019 Reppy Institute Graduate Student Conference, Cornell University

  • 2019 ISA Annual Meeting , Toronto


Nationalism & Violent Conflict

  • Kuo, K. “Revisiting the Salafi-Jihadist Threat in Xinjiang.” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 32, no. 4 (2012): 528-544.

Harris Mylonas and I are partners in an ongoing multi-paper project that studies the role of nation-building and nationalism in processes of violent conflict.

  • Kuo, K. and H. Mylonas. “Nationalism and Foreign Policy.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Foreign Policy Analysis, edited by Cameron G. Thies, 223-242. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.

  • "Nation-Building and the Role of Identity in Civil Wars" (under review)