Ken Gause
Research Program Director


Ken Gause directs the Adversary Analytics Program. 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's Adversary Analytics Program 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.


June 11, 2019

Ken Gause says, "I expect that Kim will move slowly in terms of testing of critical defense systems in order to try to avoid passing a threshold of no return with the U.S."

The Japan Times: One Year After Singapore Summit, Hopes Fading for Progress in U.S.-North Korea Nuclear Talks

May 17, 2019

Ken Gause says, "We saw through 2016 and 2017 when North Korea wasn't able to get satisfaction to their diplomatic charm campaign, which they tried through 2013 into 2015, so they started doing nuclear tests and missile tests."

Korean Kontext: "Why North Korea Won't Budge: Ken Gause" [4:40]

April 17, 2019

Ken Gause speaks on Kim Jong-un's relationship with his sister Kim Yo-jong, saying, "The blood tie is everything. She is his most trusted adviser. At the end of the day, she is a person that he could rely on in a way that he cannot rely on any other adviser."

CNN (Transcript): "CNN Newsroom" [03:50:04]

April 4, 2019

Ken Gause says North Korea is resorting to "thievery including cyberattacks to bring in funds."

Voice of America: "U.S. Predicts More North Korea Cyber Heists to Fund WMDs"

April 2, 2019

Ken Gause writes, "The notion, therefore, that Kim could act with impunity is a misinterpretation of his power and a misunderstanding of the dynamics of totalitarian regimes."

The Hill: "Can Kim Jong Un Really Denuclearize?"

March 31, 2019

Ken Gause says, "It would suggest to me that the possibility of the U.S. and North Korea interactions may be back on the table at least [through] some sort of back-channel."

Voice of America: "US, North Korean Officials Cross Paths in Beijing"