Michael Kofman
Senior Research Scientist


Michael Kofman serves as Director of the Russia Studies Program at CNA and as a Fellow at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the Russia and the former Soviet Union, specializing in Russian armed forces, military thought, capabilities, and strategy. Previously, he served as a Program Manager and subject matter expert at National Defense University, advising senior military and government officials on issues in Russia and Eurasia. Mr. Kofman is also a Senior Editor at War on the Rocks, where he regularly authors articles on strategy, the Russian military, Russian decision-making, and related foreign policy issues. He runs a personal blog on the Russian armed forces at https://russianmilitaryanalysis.wordpress.com/

Mr. Kofman has published numerous articles on the Russian armed forces, security issues in Russia/Eurasia, and analyses for the US government. He holds an MA in International Security from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.


May 1, 2020

Michael Kofman expects, "a significant drop off in production for at least two months in the Russia defense industry as a result of COVID-19 measures, but it will be highly uneven depending on the region and assembly plant/shipyard."

Defense One: "Russian Arms Production Slowed by Coronavirus, Analysts Find"

April 21, 2020

Michael Kofman says, "Because it is not a globally deployed force with constant operations abroad, besides cases like Syria, the impact is much reduced compared to that on US forces."

Defense One: "Putin Is Projecting Strength in the Face of Coronavirus. but the Image Is Cracked"

April 2, 2020

Michael Kofman writes, "Despite the advancements in the Russian armed forces, doctrinal deterrence by defense is still seen as cost prohibitive, unattractive compared to approaches that actively limit damage to the homeland or the armed forces."

Russia Military Analysis: "Russia's Armed Forces Under Gerasimov, the Man Without a Doctrine"

March 12, 2020

Michael Kofman writes, "The Russian Navy, like the Soviet Navy before it, is much more capable beneath the waves, arguably the only near-peer to the United States in the undersea domain."

Russia Military Analysis: "The Role of Nuclear Forces in Russian Maritime Strategy"

March 10, 2020

Michael Kofman says, "In a scenario where Russia has one airbase, a presence that is not scalable, a presence that requires access to the Bosporus for logistical support, the Russian forces are actually in a very vulnerable position."

The National Interest: "Can Turkey Defeat Russia's Army in Syria?" 

March 7, 2020

Michael Kofman writes, "The past year demonstrated that constraints on the Russian Navy remain tethered to industrial capacity, technical, and operational limitations, rather than financial resources."

Russia Military Analysis: "The Russian Navy in 2019 (Year in Review)"

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