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.


October 15, 2017

Ken Gause writes “At the core of the matter lies the question: Can North Korea and the United States find an off-ramp from the escalatory ladder that both are currently climbing?”

The National Interest: “How Trump Could Win the North Korea Nuclear Game”

October 12, 2017

Two of the nation’s leading experts on North Korea and China sat down with David Sanger of the New York Times to discuss the North Korea problem and provide expert perspective on the options available to the United States. Read more.

October 11, 2017

On October 11, David Sanger will moderate a discussion with experts Ken Gause and David Finkelstein on North Korea's 'strategic calculus' and what’s at stake with DPRK-China relations. Register.

October 10, 2017

Ken Gause says that if you want to understand North Korea "You have to get down to a very personal level. It's all about the politics of the individual."

Association of the United States Army: "Kim Jong Un Provides Stability in North Korea"

October 9, 2017

Ken Gause says Kim Yo Jong "keeps his [Kim Jong Un's] schedule, she works with his security detail, making sure that he is protected when goes out on his guidance inspections."

CNN: "N.Korea: Kim's Sister Promoted"

October 3, 2017

Ken Gause says "[North Korea is] ruled by individuals; it's not ruled by institutions."

CNN: "Frontline Examines 'North Korea's Deadly Dictator'"