Michael Kofman
Research Program Director


Michael Kofman serves as Research Program Director in 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.


December 14, 2020

Michael Kofman writes, "The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a reminder about the need to link military power, and military strategy, to state policy."

Russia Matters: "A Look at the Military Lessons of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict"

December 9, 2020

Michael Kofman says, "They calculated quite cynically that if it turned out these offensives were not successful early on, then it was best these casualties would be among mercenaries not Azerbaijani forces."

BBC News: "The Syrian Mercenaries Used as 'Cannon Fodder' in Nagorno-Karabakh"

November 13, 2020

Michael Kofman says, "China's quite interested in the Arctic, and the United States is always interested not just in Russia but anywhere China gets interested."

Business Insider: "Military Activity Is Picking up in the Quiet Waters Between the U.S. and Russia"

November 11, 2020

Michael Kofman says, "Drones offer small countries very cheap access to tactical aviation and precision guided weapons, enabling them to destroy an opponent's much-costlier equipment such as tanks and air defense systems."

Washington Post: "Azerbaijan's Drones Owned the Battlefield in Nagorno-Karabakh — and Showed Future of Warfare"

November 10, 2020

Michael Kofman says, "It became very clear that Russia refused to be positioned as Armenia's representative, being forced to negotiate with Turkey over what happens here. Russia wanted to be the security arbiter between Armenia and Azerbaijan."

Defense & Aerospace Report: "Ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh"

November 3, 2020

Michael Kofman writes, "The argument that a positive military balance is essential to preventing faits accomplis, while appealing in its simplicity, leaves much to be desired in its efficacy."

War on the Rocks: "Getting the Fait Accompli Problem Right in U.S. Strategy"