Anthony H. Cordesman

  • Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at CSIS. During his time at CSIS, Cordesman has been director of the Gulf Net Assessment Project and the Gulf in Transition Study, as well as principal investigator of the CSIS Homeland Defense Project. He has led studies on national missile defense, asymmetric warfare and weapons of mass destruction, and critical infrastructure protection. He directed the CSIS Middle East Net Assessment Project and codirected the CSIS Strategic Energy Initiative. He is the author of a wide range of studies on U.S. security policy, energy policy, and Middle East policy and has served as a consultant to the Departments of State and Defense during the Afghan and Iraq wars. He served as part of General Stanley McChrystal’s civilian advisory group during the formation of a new strategy in Afghanistan and has since acted as a consultant to various elements of the U.S. military and NATO. Current projects include ongoing analysis of the security situation in the Gulf, U.S. strategic competition with Iran, the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, a net assessment of the Indian Ocean region, Chinese military developments and U.S. and Asian assessments of these developments, changes in the nature of modern war, and assessments of U.S. defense strategy, programs, and budgets. (Many of these studies can be downloaded from the Burke Chair section of the CSIS website at

    Cordesman formerly served as national security assistant to Senator John McCain of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as director of intelligence assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as civilian assistant to the deputy secretary of defense. He directed the analysis of the lessons of the October War for the secretary of defense in 1974, coordinating U.S. military, intelligence, and civilian analysis of the conflict. He has served in numerous other government positions, including at the Department of State and on the NATO International Staff. Cordesman also served as director of policy and planning for resource applications at the Department of Energy. He has had numerous foreign assignments as well—including posts in Lebanon, Egypt, and Iran—and has worked extensively in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. He has been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service medal, is a former adjunct professor of national security studies at Georgetown University, and has twice been a Wilson fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian. Cordesman is the author of more than 50 books, including a four-volume series on the lessons of modern war. His most recent publications include:

    The Iranian Sea-Air-Missile Threat to Gulf Shipping
    •The Indian Ocean Region: A Strategic Net Assessment
    •The Gulf Military Balance (3 volumes)
    •Iraq in Crisis
    •Iran—Sanctions, Energy, Arms Control, and Regime Change
    •Changing US Security Strategy
    •Chinese Military Modernization and Force Development
    •The Evolving Military Balance in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia (3 volumes)
    •The Afghan War in 2013: Meeting the Challenges of Transition (3 volumes)
    •The North African Military Balance: Force Developments in the Maghreb
    •Lessons from the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War
    •Iraq's Insurgency and the Road to Civil Conflict
    •Iran's Military Forces and Warfighting Capabilities
    •Salvaging American Defense
    •Gulf Military Forces in an Era of Asymmetric Wars (2 volumes)
    •The Global Oil Market: Risks and Uncertainties
    •Iraqi Security Forces: A Strategy for Success
    •Iran’s Developing Military Capabilities
    •The War After the War: Strategic Lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan
    •The Lessons of Afghanistan


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