Samuel Plapinger, Ph.D.
Research Analyst


Samuel Plapinger is an expert on international security issues, including military operations and tactics, combat effectiveness, irregular warfare, and violent non-state actors. His recent research topics at CNA include military swarms, competition short of armed conflict, Marine Corps recruitment, and readiness.

Prior to joining CNA, Plapinger was a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence (OCV) at Yale University, and worked as a Summer Associate and Adjunct Researcher at the RAND Corporation. At the University of Virginia, he was a teaching assistant and research assistant. In his dissertation, Plapinger integrated 105 interviews conducted in Arabic with ex-insurgents and former military and intelligence officials in Jordan and Lebanon with archival and secondary sources to outline a framework for assessing insurgent military effectiveness during combat. In support of this work, he received funding from Yale, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College, and the Zeit Foundation.

Plapinger has a Ph.D. and M.A. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. He received his B.A. from Wesleyan University (CT), with a double major in Government and Economics and a Certificate in International Relations. He is fluent in written and spoken Arabic, and has intermediate Spanish ability.