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.


September 14, 2018

Michael Kofman writes, “Russian and Chinese leadership at Tsygol range opened up Phase 2 of the exercise with a large review of forces. The optics were clearly meant to rekindle the images of Zapad-1981.”

Russian Military Analysis: “Vostok 2018 – Day 3 (September 13)”

September 13, 2018

Michael Kofman writes, “Russian forces plan to use the latest generation EW and drone systems during the exercise.”

Russian Military Analysis: “Vostok 2018 – Day 2 (September 12)”

September 12, 2018

Michael Kofman says, “The reason why [Russia is] flexing its muscles is both as large-scale training for its own military...and also to establish coercive credibility vis-a-vis any potential adversaries, namely the United States and the West.”

BBC News Hour: “Russia Launches Biggest War Games Since Cold War” [Segment begins at 9:20]

September 11, 2018

Michael Kofman says, “The point of the exercise is really to test Russia's ability to conduct a large-scale conflict, and one that may involve a nuclear component.”

VOA News: “Analysts: Russia's Vostok '18 Troop Numbers, 'China Alliance' Claims Questionable”

September 11, 2018

Michael Kofman says, “The Chinese right now are sending a clear signal that one, they don’t see Russia as a threat, which already should be a concern to the United States.”

The Washington Post: “War Games and Business Deals: Russia, China Send a Signal to Washington”

September 11, 2018

Michael Kofman writes, “This year there’s an emphasis on logistics, organizing forces and moving them large distances across Russia, which is sort of the major challenge in the Eastern/Central MD.”

Russian Military Analysis: “Vostok 2018 – Day 1 (September 11)”