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.


November 30, 2017

Ken Gause says, "I suspect we are one to two years away from North Korea having a full up nuclear deterrent with an ability to strike the United States."

The National Interest: "North Korea's New ICBM Can Only Mean One Thing"

November 3, 2017

Ken Gause says "I don't know how much President Trump is going to be able to achieve in the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Korea, but I see this trip more as his opportunity to reassure allies and get a better understanding with Beijing." (1:35)

VOA: "President Trump Departs for Asia"

November 3, 2017

Ken Gause says "This would be an indication that there is stability inside the regime, that Kim is feeling comfortable with the people around him, because when there are times of tension either severe external tension or internal tension she is usually not available."

CNN: "Kim Jong Un's Wife Makes Rare Public Appearance"

November 3, 2017

Ken Gause says the trip "is part of the pressure campaign, it is expected that Trump will use this trip to send strategic reassurance messages to allies and deterrence messages to North Korea."

NK News: "Trump Will Push Countries to 'Do More' on North Korea During Asia Trip: Mcmaster"

October 20, 2017

Ken Gause says "One thing is certain, as long as tensions persist and both sides continue to push up the escalatory ladder, there is no chance for a serious diplomatic pause that will allow both sides to engage and explore the art of the possible."

NK News: "N. Korea 'Not Planning' Negotiations Over Nuclear Weapons"

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”