Michael Kofman
Senior Research Scientist


Michael Kofman is an expert on Russia, Eurasia and Pakistan. His research focuses on security issues in Russia and the former Soviet Union, specializing in defense and military analysis.

Kofman has advised senior military and government officials on Russia, Eurasia and Pakistan and represented the Department of Defense on numerous occasions before foreign officials and dignitaries. In addition to his role at CNA, he is a Kennan Institute Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. Kofman has published numerous articles on security issues in Eurasia, specifically Russia and Ukraine, and has appeared as a featured guest on broadcast news programs throughout the country.

Kofman holds an M.A. in Security Studies with a concentration in International Security from Georgetown University and a B.A. in International Affairs and Political Science from Northeastern University. He is fluent in Russian.


May 11, 2018

Michael Kofman writes, "Despite modest reductions to the defense budget since 2015, the Russian military has suffered the least in state cuts relative to other government services."

The Moscow Times: "Parades and Pomp: What Do Russia's Armed Forces Have to Celebrate?"

May 10, 2018

"According to Michael Kofman, Russia's 2016 military spending had been artificially inflated by a one-time loan payment of $13.8 billion from Russia's Ministry of Finance. The loan was to help the military reduce defense sector debt. It is unclear if SIPRI's data accounted for this loan or not."

The National Interest: "These 5 Nations Account for 60 Percent of All Military Spending on the Planet"

May 8, 2018

Michael Kofman says that there are two types of Russian experts, "There are the nice missionaries who knock on your door and say, 'Hey, have you heard the good news about democracy, freedom and liberalism?' And then there are the crusaders who are trying to claim the heathen Eastern European lands for democracy and freedom."

The New York Times Magazine: "The Quiet Americans Behind the U.S.-Russia Imbroglio"

April 27, 2018

Michael Kofman says, "I don't see any drive or desire to attain a new carrier in Russia. Russia has no practical need of a carrier, it is simply for symbolic purposes to project status."

The National Interest: "Could China Build Aircraft Carriers for Russia?"

April 16, 2018

Michael Kofman says, "The Russian armed forces are rethinking the role of the IFV [infantry fighting vehicles] on the battlefield, and looking at options for armored vehicles to support armor advances."

The National Interest: "Russia Just Built a 'Terminator' (And It Could Go to War in Syria)"

April 9, 2018

Michael Kofman says, "In terms of establishing viable air defenses against opponents with fifth generation aircraft, it's quite clear how Russia is trying to tackle the problem of stealth."

The National Interest: "Air Showdown: America's F-22 & F-35 Stealth Fighters vs. Russia's S-400 (Who Wins?)"