Kayla M. Williams
Senior Fellow and Director, Military, Veterans, and Society Program}
Kayla M. Williams is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). She previously served as Director of the Center for Women Veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where she was the primary adviser to the Secretary on department policies, programs, and legislation affecting women veterans.
Kayla spent eight years at the RAND Corporation researching servicemember and veteran health needs and benefits, international security, and intelligence policy. Ms. Williams was enlisted for five years as an Arabic linguist, serving in a Military Intelligence company of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). She is the author of Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army, a memoir about her deployment to Iraq, and Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War, about her family's journey from war trauma to healing.
Kayla graduated cum laude with a BA in English Literature from Bowling Green State University and earned an MA in International Affairs with a focus on the Middle East from American University. She is a former member of the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans and the Army Education Advisory Committee, a 2013 White House Woman Veteran Champion of Change, and a 2015 Lincoln Award recipient.
Recent Publications & News
Press NoteCNAS Responds: Tensions Rise Between the United States and Iran
By Richard Fontaine, Ilan Goldenberg, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Kayla M. Williams, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Neil Bhatiya & Kaleigh Thomas
VideoCNAS: Bold Ideas for National Security
By Susanna V. Blume, Kara Frederick, Kayla M. Williams, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Richard Fontaine, Kristine Lee, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Ely Ratner, Paul Scharre, Elizabeth Rosenberg & Carrie Cordero
Increasing Diversity in the Military: Recruiting and Retaining Talented Women
By Kayla M. Williams
ReportsPeriodic Occupational and Environmental Monitoring Summary
By Kayla M. Williams & James Fahy
CommentaryMental health care isn’t one-and-done — like any journey, you have to commit
By Kayla M. Williams & Kyleanne Hunter
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