Center for Stability and Development

The Center for Stability and Development (CSD) was established by CNA to focus on the study of:

  • Development and assessment of foreign security forces (e.g., security force assistance, foreign internal defense, building partner capacity)
  • Conflict prevention, crisis response, and post-conflict reconstruction efforts
  • Terrorism and counterterrorism, insurgency and counterinsurgency, political, unconventional, and information warfare, and stability operations
  • Economic and governance development of fragile and failed states
  • Assessment, monitoring, and evaluation (AM&E) of security, stability, and development programs

CSD's mission is to support decision-makers charged with planning, conducting, and assessing/evaluating prevention, response, stability, and development operations with objective analysis grounded in an understanding of actual operations. In conjunction with CNA's field program, CSD has deployed analysts to conduct field work in Iraq and the broader Middle East, North and Sub-Saharan Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia, Central and South America, and numerous former Soviet Union states.

Our analysts often work on-site to provide direct, real-time analytic support to tactical and operational leaders in the military, as well as in other government and non-governmental agencies. These experiences imbue CSD analysts with unique perspectives on current operations that we in turn use to provide insightful, actionable advice to high-level decision makers on issues of strategic importance.

CSD Research Available to the Public

Afghan National Security


Africa Security Issues

US Military Operations


External Publications

Other study topics include:

  • Assessment of AFRICOM’s strategic impact
  • Impacts of increased maritime terrorism
  • Sources of instability in the Balkans
  • Assessment of the South Asia Strategy
  • Evaluation of the State Department’s Counter Terrorism Partnerships Fund (with Resonance Global)
  • Analytic support to the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity
  • Optimizing Navy support to countering threat networks in Central/South America
  • Evaluation of the Central American Maritime Regional Initiative
  • Evaluation of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative – Tactical Assistance Field Teams
  • The potential of memes for influence campaigns
  • Competition for maritime capacity building in North Africa
  • Understanding impediments to SOF-USMC integration
  • Evaluation of the U.S. Colombia Action Plan
  • Lessons learned from assessment, monitoring, and evaluation in Afghanistan
  • Independent assessment of USG efforts against al Qaeda
  • Assessment, monitoring, and evaluation of the Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative
  • Russian information activities in former Soviet Union states

To learn more about these and other works by CNA’s Center for Stability and Development or to speak with our analysts, please contact the director, Dr. Jonathan Schroden, at (703) 824-2508 or For classified work and a full listing of CSD publications, please refer to our SIPRnet website:

Team Members

Thought Leadership

CNA Talks Podcast: Episode 11

Experts Jonathan Schroden, Julia McQuaid, Pamela Faber and Zack Gold discuss the findings of CNA’s independent assessment of U.S. government efforts against Al Qaeda. Listen now.

CNA Talks Podcast: Episode 8

Dr. Larry Lewis, Dr. David Knoll and Zack Gold discuss the findings and implications of newly released CNA paper, Decade of War: Applying Past Lessons to the Counter-ISIS Campaign. Listen now.

CNA Talks Podcast: Episode 5

In episode 5, Dr. Eric Thompson moderates a discussion on ISIS’s use of social media, drones, tunnels and more with CNA experts Dr. Jonathan Schroden, Dr. David Knoll, Pamela Faber and Zack Gold. Listen now.

November 5, 2018

Zack Gold says, “There are obviously diplomatic and political factors but to their minds (the Egyptians) the situation is a security one."

France 24: “Egypt Treads Carefully as Gaza Broker”

November 4, 2018

Zack Gold says, “The U.S. is correct that a regional grouping should include the entire GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council], If [the Americans] are sending the message of not joining an organization that doesn’t include Qatar, it’s an important message to send.”

Al-Monitor: “Middle East Upheaval Casts a Shadow Over ‘Arab NATO” 

October 15, 2018

Zack Gold says, “Al-Ashmawy broke ties with militants in Sinai when they chose to align with ISIS in late 2014, so his capture will have no impact on intelligence for Egyptian operations in North Sinai.”

Daily News Egypt: “Al-Ashmawy’s Apprehension Is ‘Big Win for Cairo’ but ‘Not Enough to Boost Sinai Operations”

October 8, 2018

Zack Gold says, “Ashmawy was a boogeyman for the Egyptian army, so there is potentially a morale factor to his capture after more than five years.”

The Wall Street Journal: “Libyan Forces Detain Former Egyptian Army Commander Wanted in Attacks”

October 8, 2018

Zack Gold says, “Certainly, this could be seen as a morale boost for Egypt, after blaming Ashmawy for major attacks — especially against security force and government officials — for over five years. However, it’s unlikely to have any impact in the short term on Egypt’s counterterrorism fight. Egypt still faces its biggest threat from ISIS, which itself was battling Ashmawy in Libya.”

The Washington Post: “Libyan Forces Capture Egypt’s Most Wanted Militant”

September 13, 2018

Jonathan Schroden says that CNA is helping special operations forces “think about what role they might play in [non-counterterrorism] settings.”

Yahoo News: “Special Operations Boom Years May Be Coming to a Close” 

September 13, 2018

Michael Kofman writes, “Russian forces plan to use the latest generation EW and drone systems during the exercise.”

Russian Military Analysis: “Vostok 2018 – Day 2 (September 12)”

September 7, 2018

Zack Gold says, “There is a belief that this money is needed to maintain a good working relationship with Egypt. In many ways, it has created a dependency, an expectation of assistance.”

Al Monitor: “Pentagon Revamps Egypt War Games in Trust-Building Exercise”