Dr. Kimberly Kagan



Kimberly Kagan is the founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War. She is a military historian who has taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Yale, Georgetown, and American University. She is the author of The Eye of Command (2006) and The Surge: a Military History (2009), and editor of The Imperial Moment (2010).  Dr. Kagan has published numerous essays in outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Weekly Standard, and Foreign Policy.  She co-produced The Surge: The Whole Story, an hour-long oral history and documentary film on the campaign in Iraq from 2007 to 2008.
Dr. Kagan served in Kabul for seventeen months from 2010 to 2012 working for commanders of the International Security Assistance Force, General David H. Petraeus, and subsequently General John Allen. Admiral Mike Mullen, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recognized Dr. Kagan for this deployment as a volunteer with the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest honor the Chairman can present to civilians who do not work for the Department of Defense.
Dr. Kagan was congressionally appointed to the Syria Study Group (SSG) in late 2018. The SSG is a twelve-member bipartisan group mandated by Congress to make recommendations on the military and diplomatic strategy of the U.S with respect to Syria. The group released its final recommendations in September 2019, which include adjusting the U.S. military mission to meet the evolving ISIS threat, denying the Bashar al-Assad regime legitimacy, committing to expelling Iranian forces and proxies, and increasing the costs on Russia for its destabilizing role.
Dr. Kagan co-founded the Hertog War Studies Program in 2013. The program is an intensive 2-week program run by the Institute for the Study of War in Washington D.C. The program aims to educate advanced undergraduate students about the theory, practice, organization, and control of war and military forces. 
Dr. Kagan previously served as a member of General Stanley McChrystal’s strategic assessment team, comprised of civilian experts, during his campaign review in June and July 2009.   Dr. Kagan also served on the Academic Advisory Board at the Afghanistan-Pakistan Center of Excellence at CENTCOM.  She conducted many regular battlefield circulations of Iraq between May 2007 and April 2010 while General Petraeus and General Raymond T. Odierno served as the MNF-I Commanding General. She participated formally on the Joint Campaign Plan Assessment Team for Multi-National Force-Iraq - U.S. Mission- Iraq in October 2008 and October 2009, and as part of the Civilian Advisory Team for the CENTCOM strategic review in January 2009. Dr. Kagan serves on the advisory board of the Vandenberg Coalition.
Dr. Kagan explains ISW's mission to C-SPAN's Brian Lamb: Click here.