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.


August 7, 2018

Ken Gause says, “Gause said that since the North Koreans have "a very strong rationale for deterrence and survival to keep the nuclear program."

VOA News: “Caution Urged on Possible Second US-North Korea Summit”

July 30, 2018

Ken Gause says, “Regime survival and perpetuation of Kim family rule are Kim’s guiding principles.”

The Washington Post: “U.S. Spy Agencies: North Korea Is Working on New Missiles”

July 26, 2018

Ken Gause says, “I don’t think that is North Korea’s intention (to weaken the South Korea-U.S. alliance through the declaration), but I do agree that we need to be aware that such actions would be something that support China’s national interests. The U.S. should refrain from any discussion about removing troops from the peninsula.”

The Korea Herald: “Experts Advise Caution Over Rush to Declare End to Korean War”

July 19, 2018

Ken Gause says, “The central task facing socialist economic construction this year is to enhance the independence and Juche character of the national economy and improve the people’s standard of living.”

Council on Foreign Relations: “North Korea’s Power Structure”

July 13, 2018

Ken Gause says, “Instead of focusing on CVID, as the U.S. would prefer, North Korea prefers to focus on building good relations and confidence building measures.”

The Korea Herald: “Trump Tweets Letter From NK Leader”

July 3, 2018

“Kim Jong Un cut his political teeth back in 2007 working with the GPB. He has used a number of former GPB alums as a personnel-feeder for top positions throughout the DPRK’s national security community, what Ken Gause calls the ‘GPB Mafia.’”

38 North: “Recent Changes in Kim Jong Un’s High Command”