Kaleigh Thomas

Research Associate, Middle East Security Program

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Kaleigh Thomas is the Research Associate for the Middle East Security Program and 2020 recipient of the 1LT Andrew J. Bacevich Jr., USA Award at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). She also serves as the co-founder and Director of the Make Room initiative at CNAS which aims to empower communities underrepresented in national security, educate the next generation of leaders, and provide a platform to share their expert perspectives.

Her research centers on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Iran, Syria, and the economic tools used in United States’ Middle East strategy. She has appeared as a commentator on BBC News, Voice of America, and CNBC, among other outlets, and her writing and analysis has appeared in Defense One, Foreign Policy online, The National Interest, Defense News, World Politics Review, and various CNAS publications.

Previously, she served as a program coordinator and research assistant for the Energy, Economics, and Security and Middle East Security programs at CNAS. Prior to joining CNAS, she worked at the International Peace and Security Institute and in marketing communications at HKS, Inc. Kaleigh has her Master of Arts degree in international peace and conflict resolution from American University, where her studies focused on peacebuilding and terrorism. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with majors in international business and marketing from the University of South Carolina.

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