Julia McQuaid
Principal Research Scientist
Director, Program on Transnational Challenges


Julia McQuaid is an expert on international security issues, including terrorism and counterterrorism, armed groups, transnational threats, maritime security, partner capacity building, program evaluation, performance assessments, and water stress as a driver of conflict and instability. Her recent projects include an in-depth study in support of the Marine Corps on the topic of militant group tactics in Syria and Iraq, an analysis of civil war in Libya, and a yearlong research project analyzing how water stress serves as a contributing factor to instability and conflict. McQuaid has conducted field research throughout the Middle East and Africa, including Oman, Jordan, Mali, Benin, Morocco, Kuwait, Qatar and Algeria. She has written articles on a variety of topics in publications such as War on the Rocks, Real Clear Defense and the Marine Corps University Journal.

McQuaid has an M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service and a B.A. in French and Government from Franklin & Marshall College. She speaks French and Arabic.


February 8, 2018

Julia McQuaid says, “Iran is one example of water stress triggering unrest on the low end, whether those are riots, protests or strikes. Cape Town could potentially be another example.”

CNA: “Water Stress a Compounding Factor in Global Unrest and Terrorism”

January 18, 2018

Julia McQuaid says while water stress doesn't lead straight to conflict, "It can be catalyst, It can be a thing that breaks the system."

The New York Times: "Warming, Water Crisis, Then Unrest: How Iran Fits an Alarming Pattern"

November 23, 2017

Jonathan Schroden and Julia McQuaid write, "At CNA, we recently completed that independent assessment and concluded that the current U.S. strategy will not defeat al-Qaeda, and that a renewed approach is needed."

War on the Rocks: "Congress Asked for an Assessment of the War on Al-Qaeda. Here's What We Told Them"

April 12, 2017

New Security Beat quotes CNA analyst Julia McQuaid in “Water and the Rise of Insurgencies in the ‘Arc of Instability’”

March 17, 2017

New Security Beat quotes CNA analyst Julia McQuaid in "Julia McQuaid on the Complex Link Between Water and Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa

March 8, 2017

RealClearDefense’s Morning Recon posts CNA’s The Same, Yet Different: United States and Gulf State Interests in the Post-Arab Spring Maghreb by CNA analysts Julia McQuaid, Alexander Thurston, Ph.D., Pamela Faber, David Knoll, Ph.D. and Jacob Stoil (also carried by 5 Minute MENA Update)

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