Professor Daniel Wirls

July 20, 2011

Prof. Daniel Wirls

Daniel Wirls is a professor of Politics and was chair of the department from 2005 to 2010 and 2013-14. He received his Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University and has been teaching at UCSC since 1988.

Daniel's research spans American political history, from the debates at the Constitutional Convention to the latest developments in military policy. His most recent book is The Federalist Papers and Institutional Power in American Political Development (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015).

He is also author of Irrational Security: The Politics of Defense from Reagan to Obama (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010). Irrational Security uses the history of military policy from the end of the Cold War through the wars after 9/11 to show how the political process, especially in the form of partisan competition, pushes U.S. defense policy in a hawkish direction, with spending levels far in excess of rational security needs. Wirls is co-author of The Invention of the United States Senate (Johns Hopkins, 2004), in addition to articles, chapters, and opeds on a variety of subjects, including military policy and historical examinations of the differences between the House and the Senate.

At UCSC he teaches courses on military policy, the history of the separation of powers, Congress, as well as a large introductory course. He is a winner of two teaching awards at UCSC, one from the Division of Social Sciences and another from the Faculty Senate's Committee on Teaching.

In 1993 and 1994 Daniel was a Congressional Fellow and served as a legislative assistant to Representative Lee Hamilton and Senator Chris Dodd. He is on the national board of the Council for a Livable World, one of the oldest anti-nuclear weapons organizations.

Beyond work and family, Daniel is a competitive triathlete, swimmer, and runner. In recent years he has focused on swim-run races, often referred to as aquathlons. At the International Triathlon Union World Championships in 2015 he won gold in his age group and has placed second twice, in 2010 and 2014.