William Rosenau, Ph.D.
Senior Policy Historian


Dr. William Rosenau is an expert in political violence, counterterrorism, and political warfare. His research has examined violence and political instability in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Balkans, East Africa, and Cuba. His articles have appeared in The National Interest, Foreign Policy, Spectator USA, the Atlantic, and War on the Rocks. Rosenau's academic research has been published in Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Small Wars & Insurgencies, Intelligence and National Security, Terrorism and Political Violence, and other peer-reviewed journals. His books include Tonight We Bombed the US Capitol: The Explosive Story of M19, America's First Terrorist Group; Internal Security Assistance to South Vietnam: Insurgency, Subversion, and Public Order; and Acknowledging Limits: Police Advisors and Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. He is also the host of CNA's Coming in From the Cold podcast.

Before joining CNA, Rosenau was a political scientist at the RAND Corporation, a senior policy advisor in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the Department of State, and an adjunct professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. At Harvard University, Rosenau was a teaching fellow in the Department of History and the research coordinator for the National Security Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. On Capitol Hill, Rosenau was a legislative assistant for defense and foreign policy in the US Senate. In the Department of Defense, he served as a professional staff member at the Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces and a special assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict. Rosenau holds a PhD in War Studies from King's College, London; an MA in history from Cambridge University; and a BA in Political Science from Columbia University.


April 27, 2020

William Rosenau writes, "Between 1979 and 1985, May 19th robbed banks and armored trucks, participated in audacious prison breaks, and bombed targets in New York City and Washington, DC."

Spectator: "The Bloody Decade: Think America's Divided Now? Try the 1970s"

January 16, 2020

William Rosenau, author of “The Night We Bombed the U.S. Capitol” and CNA domestic terrorism expert was on WAMU's 1A program, Tucker Carlson Tonight, and C-SPAN to talk about his research of May 19th, a women-led domestic terrorist group.

January 7, 2020

William Rosenau says, "It took a long time for historians to really come to appreciate how deeply ingrained terrorism was in our own fabric"

The Spycast Podcast: "How Haven't I Heard of This??: A Conversation With William Rosenau" [4:38]

January 4, 2020

William Rosenau writes, "While they [M19] hated sexism, chauvinism, and misogyny, revolutionary politics came first. Sexual oppression, capitalism, racism, imperialism — all of that horror went together."

NY Daily News: "Radical Action: 'Tonight We Bombed the U.S. Capitol' Details 1970s Rise of Leftist, Mostly Lesbian Terror Group M19"

July 25, 2019

Zack Gold and William Rosenau write, "The Cold War and the Global War on Terror suggest that the future of conflict will more likely be limited to indirect skirmishes at the fringes of great-power influence."

Defense One: "The Future of Conflict Is Proxy Warfare, Again"

June 26, 2019

According to the CNA report, The Origins and Development of A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower, CNO Greenert "was looking for a document that was generally authoritative for any audience: The naval officer corps, Capitol Hill, [Office of the Secretary of Defense], friends and allies, potential adversaries . . . whomever."

Naval War College Review: "Running Silent and Algorithmic: The U.S. Navy Strategic Vision in 2019" [pg. 36]

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