75 years of service to our nation


Ken Gause
Research Team Leader


Ken Gause is the director of the International Affairs Group, a part of CNA's Center for Strategic Studies. He is CNA's senior foreign leadership analyst and has spent the last 20 years developing methodologies for examining leadership dynamics of hard-target, authoritarian regimes. In particular, he is an internationally respected expert on North Korea who has written three books on North Korean leadership. His latest book is "North Korean House of Cards: Leadership Dynamics Under Kim Jong-un."

Leadership and opposing force (OPFOR) analysis are core areas of expertise within CNA Strategic Studies and Gause has personally directed studies on the North Korean, Iranian and Russian leadership and decision-making. His work on foreign leadership dates back to the early 1980s with his work on the Soviet Union for the U.S. government. Over the last three decades, he has devised analytical techniques used to understand adversary decision-making. These techniques span a five-tier set of methodologies that range from biographical analysis to studies on how to impact and shape an authoritarian or totalitarian regime's actions. These studies include a range of approaches from sophisticated game design to proprietary analysis based on a "virtual network" of researchers around the world dedicated to providing analysis on regimes of interest, their leadership, and how they make decisions.

Gause has also published numerous articles on leadership structures for such publications as Jane's Intelligence Review, Jane's Defense Weekly, and the Korean Journal of Defense Analysis. He has a B.A. from Vanderbilt in Russian and Political Science and an M.A. from The George Washington University in Soviet and East European Affairs.


February 20, 2018

Ken Gause says, "North Korea's motives for the charm campaign are twofold: 1) drive a wedge between the U.S. and South Korea and 2) relieve the economic pressure caused by the sanctions."

The Korea Herald: "Will Inter-Korean Detente Continue After Olympics?"

February 19, 2018

Ken Gause "forecast recently that Kim will reinstate Hwang in order to keep Choe in check."

The Chosunilbo: "Purged N.Korean Apparatchik Reappears in Public"

February 13, 2018

Ken Gause says, "This can only be achieved by engagement or the military option. I prefer the former to the calamity that could come with the latter. ... I absolutely do believe the US and North Korea should talk without preconditions. Diplomacy is the art of the possible, not the art of the perfect."

The Korea Herald: "Trump Should Give Talk With North Korea a Chance"

February 9, 2018

Ken Gause says, "Accidents of birth have also worked in Ms. Kim's favor. Kim Jong Un has an older brother, Kim Jong Chol, but a Korean emphasis on age-based seniority makes it hard for him to play a public supporting role to the leader."

The Wall Street Journal: "Sister Act: Rapid Rise of North Korean Leader's New Top Aide"

February 7, 2018

Ken Gause says, "Kim Yo Jong's power exists because of proximity to the leader himself, she is the person that he trust more than anyone else in the regime."

CNN: "Kim Jong Un's Powerful Sister Going to the Olympics"

January 18, 2018

Ken Gause says the only way to stop North Korea from putting a miniaturized nuke on top of a missile is "to have some carrots along with the sticks."

OZY: "Get a Sneak Peek at Trump's Year Two Checklist"