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John Gans

Adjunct Lecturer

Global Policy Program


Dr. John A. Gans, Jr. is an adjunct lecturer at Johns Hopkins SAIS and an instructor at the Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Advanced Academic Program, where he teaches courses on international politics, American national security and the politics and process of American foreign policy. He is also currently a resident fellow at the German-Marshall Fund in Washington.
In May 2017, Gans was signed by Liveright, a division of W.W. Norton, to write White House Warriors: How the National Security Council has Transformed the American Way of War. Based on candid conversations with nearly 60 policymakers (Dick Cheney, Zbig Brzezinski, Bob Gates, and many more) and a review of 10,000 original documents from nine presidential archives, White House Warriors will introduce readers to the people, extraordinary power, and the war stories of the NSC Staff. The book will be released in 2018.
Until recently, Gans was the chief speechwriter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. As such, he served as the principal adviser to the Secretary on planning, positioning, and preparation of remarks, managed a team of writers, and drafted dozens of speeches delivered around the world. In addition to leading the writing team at the Defense Department, Gans has served as senior speechwriter for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew.
Over the course of his career, Gans has also worked with Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 2008 Beijing Olympic bid delegation, American Airlines, and, in the wake of September 11, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at Ground Zero. Gans is also a reserve Navy Public Affairs Officer (PAO) and part of the U.S. Fifth Fleet reserve component at Bahrain and Quincy, Massachusetts. 
Gans has a long affiliation with Johns Hopkins and SAIS. He defended his dissertation, covering White House strategic decision-making during war, with honors at SAIS in 2014. And he earned his MA at the school in 2009. In his dissertation, “The Midnight Watch: The NSC Staff, Drift, and Presidential Decision in Conflict,” Gans wrote a comprehensive study of the NSC Staff’s culture, influence, and impact on presidential decision-making.
In addition to his professional and academic writing, Gans has published widely, with articles, reviews, and opinion pieces in The International Herald Tribune, The Times of London Literary Supplement, Survival, The Boston Globe, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, and The Baltimore Sun. He also contributed a chapter to the book 2008 US Presidential Election: A Story in Four Acts (2009, USA and Italy). Finally, he is a frequent contributor to The Atlantic, where his articles have been tweeted and commented on by hundreds of readers.
More than commentary on the politics and process of American foreign policy, Gans has built a following with his writing on musician Bruce Springsteen and analysis of the unique influence of the singer and his songs. Gans has published three long-form articles on Springsteen’s life, his politics, and, indeed, the rock star’s foreign policy.  The latter gained particular attention for asking and answering the provocative question, “Did Springsteen win the Cold War?”
In addition to his MA and PhD, Gans received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University. He lives in Washington with his wife, Anjuli Srivastava Gans, a pediatrician, and their son.