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.


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?"

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"