J. William Sutcliffe

J. William Sutcliffe


I began my education as a historian while a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy. Having since served ten years as a commissioned officer, I am pleased to continue my studies as a postgraduate researcher at the University of Leeds.  Upon completing my doctorate, I will return to the Air Force Academy as a history instructor to educate the next generation of military leaders.

Research interests

My core research interest, and the reason why I came to the University of Leeds, is to examine France’s pursuit of nuclear weapons during the period of the Fourth Republic (1946 – 1958).  Drawing upon theories of nuclear proliferation and civil-military relations, I consider the French armed forces' internal and external negotiations as they sought to balance a wide array of interests against the desire of the government and nuclear establishment to endow France with nuclear weapons.  This research extends the bomb itself and encompasses questions of doctrine, delivery systems, and the nuclear deterrent's propsective relationship to Nato. 

Beyond the context of my present research, my interests extend to the history of nuclear deterrence in the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as the history of the Nato alliance more broadly. 


  • B.Sci., History, United States Air Force Academy, 2008
  • M.B.A., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012