Michael Connell, Ph.D.
Principal Research Scientist


Michael Connell is an expert in Persian-Gulf security-related issues, the armed forces of Iran, U.S.-GCC security cooperation, and adversary cyber policy and strategy. He has served as CNA's Field Analyst to Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT).

Prior to joining CNA, Connell was an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.

Connell has a Ph.D. in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University and a B.A. in Near East Studies from Brandeis University. He speaks Persian and French.


April 24, 2019

Michael Connell says that it is unlikely Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz because, "To do so would give the United States, its coalition allies, and its Gulf partners a casus belli and lead to war, which would undoubtedly end badly for Iran, although everyone involved would suffer consequences."

BBC: "Iran Oil Waivers: Is It About to Become More Expensive to Fill My Car?"

September 1, 2018

Michael Connell says, “Russian hackers appear to be broadening their target set, but I think tying it to the midterm elections is pure speculation at this point.”

The Associated Press: “As Elections Approach, What Is the Risk of Russian Meddling?”

May 9, 2018

Michael Connell says that moving U.S. military resources away from the Middle East is, "going to be tougher if Iran is misbehaving," as a result of the U.S. withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.

The Washington Post: "Mattis, Who Supported Staying in Iran Deal, Holds out Hope for Curtailing Tehran"

April 26, 2018

Michael Connell says, "When we did Stuxnet, it was designed to achieve a very specific purpose. We designed it to be non-lethal and restricted, to affect only the centrifuges associated with Iran's nuclear program. Its effects were designed to be tactical in nature."

Real Clear Politics: "Cyber Adversaries: It's Not Just Russia"

July 30, 2017

Buzzfeed News quotes CNA analyst Michael Connell, Ph.D. in “Inside Iran’s Mission to Dominate the Middle East”

June 7, 2017

The Loopcast interviews CNA analyst Michael Connell, Ph.D. in “Iran’s Military and Armed Forces with Michael Connell”