October 02, 2014

Dr. Eliot Cohen, Former Counselor of the U.S. Department of State, Joins CNAS as Adjunct Senior Fellow


The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) announced today that Dr. Eliot Cohen, professor and former State Department Counselor, has joined the Center as an adjunct senior fellow. Dr. Cohen will contribute to CNAS’ research on a broad range of defense and national security issues.
“Eliot Cohen is one of the nation’s foremost thinkers and practitioners in national security affairs,” said CNAS President Richard Fontaine. “We are delighted to have him join the Center. He will bring to our work a perceptive mind, deep learning, a great depth of experience and fierce advocacy for a principled foreign policy.”
“CNAS is a source of interesting and fresh thinking on defense and foreign policy,” Dr. Cohen said. “I look forward to working with a talented group of researchers from a range of backgrounds and experience, all of whom are committed to advancing American values, interests, and security.”
CNAS Chief Executive Officer Michèle Flournoy added, “Eliot has a deep understanding of policy issues as well as the larger strategic and historical context in which policy decisions are made. He is an incisive intellect and a prolific and important voice on national security issues.  While he and I have sometimes sparred on particular issues, I have the utmost respect for him and his work.  We are thrilled to have him join CNAS.”
Dr. Cohen is the Robert E. Osgood Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advance International Studies (SAIS). He directs the strategic studies program at SAIS and the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies, which he founded.  He has twice won the SAIS Excellence in Teaching Award.  For ten years, he led a SAIS partnership with the Maxwell School of Syracuse University in providing executive education to general officers and senior Defense Department officials, the National Security Studies program.
From April 2007 through January 2009 he served as Counselor of the Department of State.  A principal officer of the Department, he had special responsibility for advising the Secretary on matters pertaining to Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia, as well as general strategic issues.  He was the lead Department of State liaison with the Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan.   He represented the Department of State in interagency coordination with senior National Security Council staff, Department of Defense, and intelligence community officials on a number of issues, including the Syrian/North Korean reactor crisis of 2007, and the Somali piracy problem in 2008.

Dr. Cohen is the author of the prize-winning Supreme Command:  Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime (2002).  His other books are Conquered into Liberty: Two Centuries of Battles Along the Great Warpath that made the American Way of War (2011),Commandos and Politicians  (1978), and Citizens and Soldiers (1985).  He is, as well, co-author of Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Failure in War (1990), Revolution in Warfare? Air Power in the Persian Gulf (1995), and Knives, Tanks, and Missiles:  Israel’s Security Revolution (1998), and co-editor of Strategy in the Contemporary World (2002) and  War over Kosovo  (2001).  In 1991-1993 he directed and edited the official study of air power in the 1991 war with Iraq.  For his leadership of the Gulf War Air Power Survey, which included eleven book-length reports, he received the Air Force’s decoration for exceptional civilian service.  His articles have appeared in numerous scholarly and popular journals, and he is, as well, the author of several widely used case studies for senior military and executive education.  

Dr. Cohen graduated from Harvard College in 1977 and received his Ph.D. there in 1982.


  • Eliot Cohen