John T. Watts is a nonresident senior fellow in the Forward Defense practice of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and head of US federal coordination at Cocoon Data.

At the Atlantic Council, he was foundational in the development of Forward Defense. His diverse work at the Council has included research and papers examining the creation of a trusted and resilient global 5G telecommunications network; the threat and geopolitical implications of hypersonic weapons in the Indo-Pacific; the threat of disinformation to national sovereignty; and a range of Indo-Pacific national-security issues and regional relationships. He is particularly noted for his work running innovative and high-profile war games to explore long-term great-power competitive technology strategies, future Army concepts of operations, alternate cybersecurity challenges, and complex Baltic and Middle East security issues. His current work explores the opportunities, challenges, and implications of the AUKUS agreement. 

Previously he has been a senior policy advisor to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, where he managed strategic evaluations of security cooperation activities. He has also worked at a number of small and start-up tech and consulting companies. Prior to moving to the United States, Watts was a staff officer at the Australian Department of Defence and spent more than a dozen years in the Australian Army Reserves, including two as a liaison officer with the Virginia National Guard. 

Watts holds a Master of International Law from the Australian National University and Honours of Arts in international studies from the University of Adelaide, Australia.