Albert Willner


Adjunct Associate Professor - Center for Security Studies


School of Foreign Service (SFS)
General profile


Albert S. Willner is a Principal Research Scientist in the China Studies Division, CNA, conducting research and analysis of Asia-Pacific security issues of interest to the U.S. government. 

A retired U.S. Army colonel, from 2005-2007, he served as the first U.S. Defense Attaché equivalent in Taiwan since 1979, representing U.S. Department of Defense interests there. As an Army aviator and China Foreign Area Officer, he has served in multiple aviation command and staff positions and as an Asia-Pacific strategic planner and analyst. 

From 2000-2004, Dr. Willner served in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point as the Director, International Relations and National Security Studies, and Deputy Head and taught courses in Chinese politics and government, international relations, American politics, and U.S. foreign policy. Following his retirement from the U.S. Army, from 2007-2009, Dr. Willner served as the Associate Dean, School of Liberal Arts, at Georgia Gwinnett College. In 2009, he joined CNA, where he assumed the position of Director, China Security Affairs Group. 

Dr. Willner received his B.A. in Russian Studies and Political Science from James Madison University in 1981. He is a graduate of the Chinese People's Liberation Army National Defense University's International Symposium Course in Beijing and the British Ministry of Defense Language School in Hong Kong, where he studied Mandarin. He is co-editor of China's Nuclear Future (Lynne Rienner, 2006) and the author or co-author of numerous papers. 

His research interests include Chinese security policy, China’s military, Asia-Pacific maritime security, and U.S.-China defense relations. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. 


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  • Ph.D. (1995) University of Virginia, Foreign Affairs
  • M.A. (1991) University of Virginia, Foreign Affairs
  • B.A. (1981) James Madison University, Russian Studies, Political Science