Will Kelly

Next Generation National Security Fellow, 2017

U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Pilot, United States Navy

  • Press: nurwitz@cnas.org

Lieutenant Commander Will Kelly is an active duty naval officer and Strike Fighter Pilot. A combat veteran, he completed multiple deployments operating from U.S. Navy aircraft carriers in support of U.S. and multinational coalition forces in Operations ENDURING FREEDOM, NEW DAWN, and INHERENT RESOLVE in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. He also served in the office of the Principal Director for Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Pentagon, as a Navy Liaison Officer at the Combined Air Operations Center in Qatar, and as an F/A-18 Instructor Pilot. He has gained extensive leadership experience dealing with complex national security challenges throughout the tactical, operational, and strategic continuum and earned a current in-depth understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the United State and its allies across the Greater Middle East.  

A Rhodes Scholar, Will earned an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy from Oxford University and a B.S. with Distinction in International Relations from the United States Naval Academy. As a Truman Scholar, he studied at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. His graduate research explored the continuing relevance of the Weinberger Doctrine in a post-9/11 international security context. 

He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife, the novelist and poet Victoria Kelly, and their two amazing daughters.