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.


October 18, 2020

Michael Kofman says, "Their war effort against the Armenians is principally an attrition fight. It's not really well organized with a clear theory of victory."

New York Times: "At Front Lines of a Brutal War: Death and Despair in Nagorno-Karabakh"

October 14, 2020

Michael Kofman writes, "Fetishizing combat video feeds plays to a Western intellectual preference for the tactical, and system on system evaluations, while ignoring the basic fact that Azerbaijan has not been able to attain a significant operational success."

War on the Rocks: "The Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, Two Weeks In"

October 13, 2020

Michael Kofman says, "It's not possible to take terrain with drones alone, and the Azerbaijanis know this, which is why they are sitting back and making very small advances because they will begin taking substantial casualties if they push in."

Eurasianet: "Ceasefire Slows, Doesn't Stop Armenian-Azerbaijani Fighting"

October 2, 2020

Michael Kofman says, "Armenia is not on its own, but Russian diplomatic pressure, together with that of France or other interested countries, is unlikely to end the war until Azerbaijan is either satisfied with its battlefield gains, or has paid too high a price to sustain combat operations."

Russia Matters: "Armenia-Azerbaijan War: Military Dimensions of the Conflict"

September 17, 2020

Michael Kofman says, "'Think of them as specialized submarines that have a host of capabilities — some of that surrounding fiber optic cable infrastructure on the ocean seabed — but it's an entirely different set of operations' from the Russian navy."

Breaking Defense: "How the U.S. Is Preparing to Hunt New Chinese, Russian Subs"

August 23, 2020

Michael Kofman says, "Assuming it would fight — which is a big if — it is not in a position to offer sustained resistance and would be quickly overmatched in an engagement."

Forbes: "These Are the Warning Signs If Russia Were About to Invade Belarus"

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