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.


September 2, 2020

Michael Connell writes, "The IRGC Navy, true to its roots, operates more like a guerrilla force at sea."

United States Institute of Peace: "Operation Sentinel Protects Gulf Shipping"

September 18, 2019

According to the CNA report, Russia's Approach to Cyber Warfare, "They [Russian military theorists] conceptualize cyber operations within the broader framework of information warfare, a holistic concept that includes computer network operations, electronic warfare, psychological operations, and information operations."

CyberScoop: "Sen. Warner Says Hacking, Disinformation Are the Future of War, and Urges the U.S. to Keep Up"

August 29, 2019

Michael Connell says, "I think it's going to embarrass the Iranian space agency. On the other hand though, getting a satellite into space ... takes time."

Associated Press: "Satellite Photos Show Burning Iran Space Center Launch Pad"

July 1, 2019

Michael Connell says, "I would certainly expect them [Iran]  to conduct attacks on low-hanging fruit economic targets, and also government targets as well."

Christian Science Monitor: "US-Iran Clash Enters Cyber Realm and Tests a Trump Strategy"

June 24, 2019

Michael Connell says, "There is a great potential for miscalculation on both sides – that is the real danger."

The Christian Science Monitor: "US-Iran Standoff: Mutual Provocations, and Moves to De-Escalate"

June 18, 2019

Michael Connell says, "The biggest threat is the mine threat. Not the limpet mines, but distributing mines in the water."

The Christian Science Monitor: "Can the US Protect the Persian Gulf If Iran Wants to Target Tankers?"