Colin H Kahl

Title

Associate Professor

Department

Faculty - SFS
General profile

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Bio

Colin H. Kahl is an associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

From October 2014 to January 2017, he was Deputy Assistant to President Obama and National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden. From February 2009 to December 2011, Prof. Kahl was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East at the Pentagon. In this capacity, he served as the senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense for Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, and six other countries in the Levant and Persian Gulf. In June 2011, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service by Secretary Robert Gates. where he received the Outstanding Public Service Medal in 2011. In 2007-2009 and 2012-2014, he was a Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a nonpartisan Washington, DC-based think tank.

Current research projects include a book analyzing American grand strategy in the Middle East in the post-9/11 era. A second research project focuses on the challenges to nuclear strategic stability posed by technological developments in non-nuclear domains.

He has published numerous articles on U.S. foreign and defense policy in the Middle East in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Security, the Los Angeles Times, Middle East Policy, the National Interest, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Washington Quarterly, as well as several reports for CNAS.

His previous research analyzed the causes and consequences of violent civil and ethnic conflict in developing countries, focusing particular attention on the demographic and natural resource dimensions of these conflicts. His book on the subject, States, Scarcity, and Civil Strife in the Developing World, was published by Princeton University Press in 2006, and related articles and chapters have appeared in International Security, the Journal of International Affairs, and various edited volumes.

From 2000 to 2007, he was an assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. In 2005-2006, Prof. Kahl was a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he worked on issues related to counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, and responses to failed states. In 1997-1998, he was a National Security Fellow at the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University.

Prof. Kahl received his B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan (1993) and his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University (2000).

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Education

  • Ph.D. (2000) Columbia University, Political Science
  • B.A. (1993) University of Michigan, Political Science